Honduran social organisations speak out about proposed new mining lawPublished by MAC on 2012-03-06
Source: Statement (2012-02-20)
In late January, the Mining Commission of the Honduran National Congress declared that it was ready to table a new mining law for immediate approval.
Civil society organizations sounded the alarm, resulting in letters and pressure on the President of the Honduran Congress to open the process up to effective consultation. The decision remains pending.
On February 20th, Honduran civil society organizations met in Tegucigalpa to discuss the bill.
What follows is the statement from that meeting.
The bill not only falls far short of what the organizations have been fighting for the best part of the last decade.
It also seems designed to run roughshod over their efforts to ban open-pit mining, to put in place thorough safeguards for the health of their communities, and to ensure they have an effective over mining concessions, considered in their areas.
Pressure for the new legislation is occurring at a time when journalists and activists in Honduras are also under systematic attack.
The Canadian Embassy in Honduras continues to keep silent about these human rights abuses.
At the same time it is playing a prominent role in facilitating high level meetings for companies that could benefit from a new law.
Canada is also promoting the advantages of a new Free Trade Agreement, aimed at boosting foreign investment.
Previous article on MAC: Mesoamerican communities declare opposition to mining model
Position of the National Coalition of Environmental and Social Networks regarding the Honduran National Congress' proposed new Mining and Hydrocarbon Law
20 February 2012
Gathered in Tegucigalpa, the capital of the Republic of Honduras, to analyze the proposed general law on mining and hydrocarbons that has been elaborated by a commission of the National Congress, the below-signed civil society organizations make the following statement:
1. We express our disagreement with the way in which more than 50% of the 104 articles of this proposed law have been elaborated, which, in addition to incorporating dispositions that are harmful to the Honduras people and the goods of the state, contradicts and ignores the minimum agreements that had been agreed upon with environmental organizations, affected communities, authorities of the state and representatives of mining companies.
2. The proposed law is not ready to be debated by the National Congress, unless the desire of the Commission is to punish the communities, result in the loss of their historically acquired rights, especially the rights to food, water, health and life.
3. In the name of the affected communities and sought out by the mining companies, we demand that the National Congress cease the process of approving this law and immediately initiate a citizen consultation process, particularly with affected populations.
4. Our alliance has integrated legal and technical commissions that are available to immediately enter into debate with the Mining Commission of the National Congress in order to demonstrate the incoherencies in the proposed law and the dangers that it implies for Honduran communities, and in a similar way we would like to propose changes that would be appropriate to the needs and interests of these populations.
5. We have observed with much concern the strategic efforts of people associated with the mining companies within institutions of the state, which appears to us to be with the explicit intention to facilitate the handing over of national territory to these companies to the detriment of the population.
6. We declare that we are on ongoing alert and demand from the institutions of the state, including SERNA, DEFOMIN, the General Attorney's Office, etc, to halt the handing over of national territory and from the National Congress we demand the immediate initiation of a consultation process to regulate, starting with the Honduran citizenry, a new mining law.
Honduran territory is not for sale, it's to be defended.
- Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development (CEHPRODEC)
- Madre Tierra Association
- Civic Alliance for Democracy (ACD)
- Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (ASONOG)
- Institute for Environmental Law (IDAMHO)
- Regional Environmental Committee of the Siria Valley
- Popol Nah Tun Foundation
- Environmental Movement of Santa Barbara (M.A.S.)
- National Network of Communities Affected and Potentially Affected by Open Pit Mining
- National Roundtable on Risk Management
- Agricultural Forum
- National Association for the Promotion of Ecological Agriculture (ANAFAE)