Oil palm and National Park Jeannette Kawas , Honduras

Jeanette Kawas was murdered on 6 February 1995. Kawas opposed planting oil palm in protected areas and illegal logging. She is known as the first environmental martyr of Honduras.


Jeanette Kawas was an environmentalist. A national park in Honduras is named after her. The park was originally named Punta Sal National Park, but the name was changed to Jeanette Kawas National Park in honour of Jeanette Kawas, an environmental activist and PROLANSATE president who was murdered on February 6, 1995 for her work trying to keep the palm plantations out of the park. The park is included in the Ramsar Convention List of Wetlands of International Importance and was designated as such on March 28, 1995. Jeannette Kawas was an accountant by training but her concept of value was broader than any balance sheet. Probably no number could capture for her the natural wealth she saw in the forests, rivers, beaches and mangrove swamps of Punta Sal, near her hometown of Tela in northern Honduras. In the 1980s, cattle ranchers, resort developers and loggers all wanted a slice of this landscape. As their hunger grew, Kawas formed an environmental organization, PROLANSATE, to protect the land, and in 1994, it convinced the government to allow it to create and manage a new national park there.

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Basic Data
NameOil palm and National Park Jeannette Kawas , Honduras
SiteBahía de Tela
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesTimber
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThere were attempts to take timber from the area and also to start oil palm plantations. The zone is now a natural Park and Ramsar site named after Jeannete Kawas.

A mill processes thousands of hectares of oil palm planted inside and outside the protected area.
Project Area (in hectares)7,8162
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population80,000
Start Date1990
Company Names or State EnterprisesHondupalma Company (Hondupalma) from Honduras
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Honduras, Secretaría de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente (SERNA)

Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF)
International and Financial InstitutionsRamsar convention
Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCenter for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús en Honduras (ERIC), Protección de Lancetilla, Punta Sal y Texiguat (PROLANSATE),
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
New legislation
Project cancelled
Jeanette Kawas was murdered on February 6, 1995
Development of AlternativesDeclaration of Ramsar site for the Jeanette Kawas National Park
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.La Fundación para la Protección de Lancetilla, Punta Sal y Texiguat PROLANSATE, was born in 1990, from a group of people from Tela, members of the Asociación Hondureña de Ecología (AHE); Jeannette Kawas and Andrew Stoll took the initiative. At the cost of her life, the destruction of the site was stopped, it is now a National Park and Ramsar site.
Sources and Materials

American Convention on Human Rights
[click to view]


Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case of Kawas-Fernández vrs. Honduras Judgment of April 3, 2009
[click to view]

Caso Jeannette Kawas: Estado de Honduras incumple varios puntos de la sentencia, 13 Marzo 201
[click to view]


Fundación para la Protección de Punta Sal, Lancetilla y Texiguat
[click to view]

[1] Honduras no quiere bosques, quiere aceite de palma
[click to view]

Media Links

Documentary, "Los árboles mueren de pie"
[click to view]

Other Documents

Jeanette Kawas allocation and oil palm expansion source: Víctor Peña (http://latierraesclava.eldiario.es/palma-africana/)
[click to view]

Blanca Jeanette Kawas Fernandez Source: http://www.hondurastips.hn/2017/03/08/ocho-mujeres-hondurenas-que-trascendieron-fronteras/5/
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorGrettel Navas and SM (ICTA-UAB)
Last update22/08/2017