Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Honduran communities put up resistance- FANCA

 

Honduran social organizations complain that their country is now a mixture of two realities: The government speaks of Honduras without violence that meets national and international standards, human rights are respected and there are only some isolated protests that do not reflect the real popular feeling, and that activists are involved in drug smuggling or trying to destabilize the country. Most of pro-government media outlets support that version.

 

The other reality, the other Honduras, is the one from the communities. Many groups reject the installation of military bases and more mining and hydroelectric projects, and also struggle for the consolidation of municipal corporations in places where the ruling party lost in the elections. Is the Honduras where communities are threated and attacked and even so still continuing to denouncing and defending their rights while many of their activists continue being killed. This reality is exposed to the world through social networks and a few journalists that have the courage to tell the truth, despite to the risk of being censured or their outlets closed.  

The environmental issue is an example of the clash between these two realities. For instance the case of the Mining Act, approved by the last government before leaving office, and that has been the cause of deepen social exclusion and the increase of threats on water, the environment and the way Honduran people live.

In theory, this law prevents mining in protected areas; something achieved thanks to the pressure of organized communities. However, in the fine print only the protected areas to be save from mining are the ones contained in the Forests Book, and to include a new area is a long, expensive and complicated process for communities.

The right to participation is also being affected because the new procedures of the National System of Environmental Impact Assessment are designed to facilitate quick paper work processes to the companies that can also hide certain data if it is declared as classified. Organizations that have reported human rights violations in the country, or who have sustained some type of confrontation with the government, in practice they don´t have equal conditions to participate in processes or in open community assemblies, which continue being directed and controlled almost always by the government.

However, the communities are still organized, informing and defending their territories, natural resources and their autonomy to protect and manage them. Recently the town of Balfate (Department of Colón) was declared through a town assembly as "Water Producer and Free of Mining Industry”, after a long process of organization and denounce and after knowing that all their micro basins that supply water to all nearby towns were being given in private ownership for mining projects.  

From the Central Water Action Network (FANCA) we reiterate our commitment to show the world the other Honduras, to walk along with the communities that defend their territories and water as common goods and in their struggle to avoid that they are sacrificed for private interests.