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Honduras extremely dangerous for human right defenders, watchdog warns

Honduras is one of the deadliest countries in the world for human rights defenders, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said on Friday after a visit to the Central American country.

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Eight human rights figures were killed in the year’s first four months, on pace to surpass the 17 killed in 2022, the IACHR said in a report after the visit.

Land disputes in Honduras have pitted peasant activists and other residents against large-scale agriculture, mining and hydroelectric developers.

Meanwhile, ethnic groups, primarily Afro-Hondurans and Garifuna communities on the Atlantic coast, have been in conflict with commercial and tourist projects on their ancestral lands.

“The situation of violence against human rights defenders is alarming,” said IACHR Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay.

#CIDH presenta observaciones preliminares de la visita in loco a #Honduras.#CIDHEnHonduras #DerechosHumanos 👉🏼

— CIDH – IACHR (@CIDH) April 28, 2023
The IACHR, an autonomous organ of the Washington-based Organization of American States, made an official visit to Honduras between April 24 and 28 after being invited by the country’s leftist government of President Xiomara Castro.

“Those who defend the land and territory face the greatest dangers,” the report concluded.

In 2016, environmentalist and indigenous leader Berta Caceres was assassinated in Honduras while fighting against the construction of a hydroelectric dam on her ancestral Lenca lands in western Honduras.

Eight people were sentenced for her death, including two executives of the company promoting the dam project.

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