Indigenous groups in Honduras are demanding lawmakers scrap a bill to regulate and expand the country’s mining and hydrocarbon sectors, arguing that legislators would put the interests of large multinational companies ahead of the health and rights of the communities.
The Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, an umbrella group, led a march in Tegucigalpa in mid-January to protest the bill, which it says threatens indigenous, Afro-Honduran and campesino communities’ health and access to a clean environment, including safe water.
According to the group, there are 130 pending requests for mining exploration. “Our position continues to be one of absolute opposition to metallic mining for its criminal impact … to life in all of its forms,” it said in a statement. “We reject with indignation the concession of large areas of national territory.”
The group alleged that these projects would cause irreversible environmental damage and that the companies would operate in the country with impunity for any impacts of its activities.
The Congress began a new session on Jan. 25.