From: CDM Watch and Biofuelwatch
A biogas project in Honduras is currently seeking registration under the Clean Development Mechanism. However, contrary to what is stated in the project proposal (that the project will contribute to sustainable development etc), local human rights organisations have reported that:
· 16 people were killed in 2010 over land dispute claims related to the CDM project
· The CDM project location was used to accommodate military forces, paramilitaries and police during disputes in April 2010
· There is strong evidence that project developers do not hold legal claims to the land
· There is strong evidence that paramilitaries under orders of the project owner were responsible for the assassinations, opening fire with heavy weapons against the peasants
· On 8 January 2011, the journalist Juan Chinchilla was kidnapped and tortured but could escape
In addition to this serious human rights abuse, the project does not prove to be additional, which is the key requirement by the CDM to prove that the emission reductions are additional and real. Without disclosing this in the official application to the UN, the project has received funds from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation related to the CDM projects.
The UK government is project participant to the CDM project has signed an authorization to the project. Ahead of the registration procedure of this project which is currently pending at the UN, CDM Watch and several other organisations have prepared the attached petition letters to the UK government demanding the withdrawal of the authorization to the project. For more information see in the attached letters in English and Spanish.
If you can support this petition, please send your logo to email@example.com by Friday, 21 January.
La financiación del Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio (MDL) sólo podía agravar la situación de los derechos humanos de Honduras aún más, al otorgar ingresos adicionales a una empresa conocida por gastar importantes sumas de dinero para pagar a paramilitares armados causantes de graves violaciónes de los derechos humanos.
Varias organizaciones hemos preparado esta carta al gobierno británico y antes de pedir firmas de apoyo de organizaciones internacionales nos parece importante contar con un grupo inicial de organizaciones de Honduras o trabajando en ese país. ¿Sus organizaciones están interesadas en firmar y pueden ayudar a difundir en Honduras?
Somos conscientes de que las actuales normas del MDL no incluye ninguna consideración de los derechos humanos y consideramos que esto es inaceptable. En la carta adjunta instamos al Gobierno del Reino Unido, como parte en los dos proyectos de MDL en Honduras que actualmente son altamente cuestionados (Aguán y Lean), a enviar una señal clara de que la corrupción, la violencia y abusos contra los derechos humanos no son aceptables y que retire inmediatamente la autorización que ha concedido a dos proyectos de MDL en Honduras. Más detalles encuentran en la carta. Para mandar su adhesión, por favor escribir lo antes posible a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Letter: UK Government must withdraw authorisation for Aguan and Lean CDM projects linked to assassinations and other human rights abuses in Honduras
The signatories to the letter call on the UK Government to immediately withdraw authorisation for the proposed CDM project “Aguan biogas recovery from Palm Oil Mill Effluent ponds and biogas utilisation” by Exportadora del Atlantico in Honduras (
). Authorisation for EDF Trading to purchase CDM credits (CERs) from this project was granted by the UK Government on 3rd June 2009, shortly before the military coup. The CDM Executive Board will consider in their next meeting from 14-18 February whether to approve this application or review it. A review has been requested by Board members due to concerns over ‘additionality’, not human rights and thus the ‘sustainability’ of the project. However, claims by the company and TUV-Sued, who wrote the validation report, regarding additionality are highly questionable: Neither the project design document nor the validation report mention that the company has already received a $30 million loan from the World Bank´s International Finance Corporation (IFC) loan and a $7 million loan from the Inter-American Investment Corporation both partly in respect of biogas production from palm oil residues. We believe that on this ground alone, the CDM Board must refuse authorisation for the applications.
We also call on the UK Government to withdraw authorisation for another CDM project application by the same company: “Lean Biogas recovery from Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) ponds and biogas / biomass utilisation” to which it appears as a project participant. (www.netinform.net/KE/files/pdf/PDD_Lean_18122007.pdf ).
Exportadora de Atlantico is a subsidiary of Grupo Dinant, owned by the family of Miguel Facusse Barjum. Facusse and his company have been at the centre of violent land conflicts, evictions, human rights abuses and the assassination of peasant members of the Unified Peasant Movement (MUCA) and the Peasant Movement of the Lower Aguan Valley (MCA). According to FIAN, 16 assassinations in 2010 have been verified, however the number of people killed may have been even higher, with a Via Campesina Honduras spokesperson stating that 25 farmers were assassinated last year. A defamatory campaign against the peasants has been conducted by the Honduran media which is close to the regime, claiming, against all evidence, that peasant organisations are armed. Those accusations are strongly rejected by the peasant organisations and contradict all evidence.
Land conflicts in Bajo Aguan date back to the 1990s when Miguel Facusse and two other large landowners obtained titles to the land now under oil palms from farmers’ cooperatives who were subjected to violence and intimidation. There is strong evidence that under the terms of National Agrarian Reform Legislation, Facusse/Grupo Dinant do not hold legal claims to the land. In June 2009, the Zelaya government signed an agreement to fully investigate the land claims by Miguel Facusse, however, the de-facto government since the coup has not implemented this agreement. Instead, the de-facto president Porfirio Lobo entered into new negotiations with MUCA, resulting in an agreement in April 2010 under which the farmers would get 6,000 hectares of the land but would have to grow oil palms on half of it and sell the fruits to palm mills owned by three businessmen, including Facusse. However, Facusse and the two other landowners did not release and return any of the land, regardless of the agreement and the militarisation of the area increased. According to the Honduran human rights organisation Comite para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras (CODEH) and MUCA, the palm mill where the first CDM project would be located has been used as a site to accommodate military forces, paramilitaries and police during April 2010. A peasant woman reported that the forces used the site as a base for patrols and intimidation and that they fired bullets at a ten year old girl on 11th April. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights expressed serious concerns about the involvement of the military in a report published in May.
The most recent confirmed murders took place on 15th November 2010, when five farmers (Teodoro Acosta, Raúl Castillo, Ignacio Reyes, Syriac Jesus Muñoz and José Luis Sauceda) were killed and others were wounded at the nearby community El Tumbador, near Trujillo. An Open Letter by six international NGOs, directed at the European Union (APOL, APRODEV, CIDSE, CIFCA, FIAN International and FIDH), states that according to their information, “the killings occurred when about 200 security guards, allegedly on the orders of palm oil producer Miguel Facusse Barjum, carried out a violent eviction in the farm El Tumbador and opened fire with heavy weapons against the peasants”. The organisations express particular concern about the complete impunity of human rights abuses in Honduras and state that the failure of the regime, since the military coup in June 2009, to implement agrarian reform legislation, has contributed to this impunity.
In early January 2011, there have been reports that two young men were beaten and seriously injured,by members of the police and armed paramilitaries paid by Miguel Facusse and another landowner. On 8th January, journalist and MUCA member, Juan Chinchilla, was kidnapped in the same province. He managed to escape from is captors, who, he reported, had worn uniforms of the military, police and Facusse’s private guards who had beaten him .
The violence and impunity in Bajo Aguan has been widely condemned by human rights and other civil society organisations in Honduras and internationally. It would be unacceptable for CDM funding to be granted to one of the companies at the centre of the violence and human rights abuses. Such CDM funding could only exacerbate the human rights situation further, providing additional income to a company known to spend substantial sums of money on paying for armed paramilitaries who are responsible for serious human rights violations. We are are aware that current CDM rules do not include any consideration of human rights and we consider this to be unacceptable. We therefore call on the UK Government, as a party to the two projects involved, to send a signal to Honduras and other governments that corruption, violence and human rights abuses are not acceptable and to immediately withdraw authorisation.
Eva Maria Filzmoser
Programme Director CDM Watch
NGO Forum Environment & Development
Rue d’Edimbourg 26, B-1050 Brussels
Phone: +32 2 893 08 94
Mobile: +32 499 21 20 81