COPINH: Statement on the Imminent Approval of New Mining and Hydrocarbons Law

Posted on January 18, 2012

By way of this public statement COPINH (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras – Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras), wishes to alert the national and international community to the following, in the face of the fresh threat to life, sovereignty, biodiversity, health, water and dignity of the Honduran people, particularly its indigenous and black peoples and farming and rural communities, presented by the  imminent adoption of a mining and hydrocarbons law in Honduras:

1.- In Honduras the National  Congress is due to discuss and adopt a mining and hydrocarbons bill which would be extremely harmful to indigenous and black peoples, and farming and rural communities, to populations already affected and threatened, and to the Honduran people in general.  Although the congressional committee has not wanted to make the substance of this law public, we know that it maintains its submissive approach in relation to transnationals and big business.

2.- This bill is just a further example of the pressure that the business world exerts on Congress, most of which is composed of supporters of the coup d’état, and which is discredited because of its lack of ethics and transparency, because many of its decisions are dictated by corruption, and because of its servile attitude to economic, transnational, political and military power.

3.- There are over 130 mining applications pending, part of the auction of natural resources and endless plundering in Honduras, which is combined with the surrender  over 30% of national territory to transnational mining companies via 370 concessions, with 21 more approved in recent weeks, a situation which will have an unprecedented cost in its destruction of the Honduran people’s way of life.

4.- We all know about the impunity in which these transnationals of death operate, not even waiting for laws or decrees before entering the country and embarking on studies, exploration and mining.  We all know about the constant violation of the rights of original peoples and other rural communities, just as it was 500 years ago, about the humiliating presents, the contamination of water, the damage to the health of human beings and other forms of life, about how unsustainable and inappropriate such activities are, and that they are one of the greatest expressions of colonialism, oppression and death.

5.- The mafia intent on selling this country off has apparently postponed the debate until next week in response to pressure from civil society; we declare from the lands of Lempira that we are once again  preparing to fight the death bill of national corporations which seeks to wipe us out.

6.-We call on communities and other organizations to fight and mobilize, to oppose these transnationals and big business, in the capital, on our lands, communities wielding power from below through autonomy and self-determination, exercising our ancestral and communal rights, and rights as a people dreaming of a Honduras genuinely refounded and without mining projects.

With the ancestral strength of Iselaca, Lempira, Mota, Etempica, we raise our voices, full of life, justice, freedom, dignity and peace!

Intibucá, 18 January 2012


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