Trócaire has condemned the murder of two prominent human rights defenders, Jairo Bonilla and Aly Domínguez, who were killed in the Aguán region of northern Honduras on January 7.
Mr Bonilla (28) and Mr Domínguez (34) were Guapinol community leaders who campaigned for years to protect their land and water supply from an iron oxide mining company.
Mr Domínguez was one of 32 defenders criminalised for defending the Guapinol river in the Carlos Escaleras National Park, where locals source their drinking water, from pollution by the mining company. He organised protests to stop the company’s activities and to demand an investigation into irregularities in the approval of the mining concession, which is in a protected area that provides drinking water for over 40,000 people.
He was also the brother of Reynaldo Dominguez, one of the 12 human rights defenders who was accused and acquitted in March 2019 for protesting against the contamination caused by the company.
Trócaire, through local partner organisation Fundación San Alonso Rodríguez (FSAR), supports the Guapinol community in their campaign to protect their water resources and to defend their right to peaceful protest free from criminalisation and repression.
George Redman, Trócaire’s Country Director in Honduras said:
“Trócaire strongly condemns the murder of Jairo Bonilla and Aly Dominguez. We urge the Honduran authorities to carry out a swift and independent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice and to fully implement protection measures for all human rights defenders in the Aguán.”
“To work towards a definitive solution to this conflict, Trócaire supports the demands of Guapinol and neighboring communities for the Honduran government to conduct an urgent audit of alleged irregularities in the approval of the mining concession, for the results to be made public and for the appropriate action to be taken if due process has not been followed,” he added.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Honduran Human Rights Ministry also condemned the murders and called on the Honduran Government to carry out an investigation.
“We call on the State Prosecutor’s Office to immediately investigate these crimes, and to guarantee access to justice for the victims’ families by thoroughly investigating these murders. The identification and capture of the perpetrators and masterminds is a responsibility of the State. As well as the timely and effective action of the Security Ministry and the National Police,” the Ministry said in a statement.