Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo

On 13th October 2020, environmental rights defender Arnold Joaquín Morazán Erazo was shot and killed in Tocoa, Colón department in Honduras. Morazan was at home when two unknown gunmen burst into his home and shot him dead.

He was one of the 32 people in the Guapinol community criminalised for protesting against a project by Inversiones los Pinares mining company that would affect the local environment.

Guapinol locals have protested against the mining project since 2012, when the government granted a mining concession to Inversiones Los Pinares, a company owned by Lenir Pérez and Ana Facussé, a powerful couple allegedly linked to human rights abuses.

The community says that the permits granted by the government are invalid because the local people were not properly consulted as required by law. They also say the mining project pollutes the nearby river, which provides water to more than 40,000 people.”

Morazán Erazo actively participated in activities organised by the Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos (CMDBCP) a group which organises the efforts of various groups to campaign against the displacement of local farmers by the mining companies.

With CMDBCP, he had complained to the municipal authorities about the proposed development of mining projects in the Carlos Escaleras Mountain National Park.

As a result of his work, he was named in two fiscal subpoenas presented by the Tocoa Public Ministry following complaints made by a mining company and the security company it hired.

Local organisation, Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos de Tocoa (CMDBCP) has denounced the spiralling violence and defamation of defenders in the region, as well as the increased surveillance and intimidation by the army and police in Guapinol.

Morazán’s killing came just days after the announcement that the 32 defenders from Guapinol were nominated for the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament.

So far, at least eight people who have opposed the mine have been murdered.

International human rights organisations pointed out that this killing fits into a pattern of attacks attempting to destabilise the community. The crime took place days before an important court hearing, much as in 2019 when another defender was killed right before the case’s first hearing.

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Date of Killing:13/10/2020

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos (CMDBCP)

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Environmental Rights, Land Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

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