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Oil palm plantations in the Bajo Agúan, Honduras


The Bajo Aguán's facing high rates of expansion of oil palm plantations.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Oil palm plantations in the Bajo Agúan, Honduras
State or province:Colón
Location of conflict:Bajo Agúan
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Palm oil

Project Details and Actors
Project details

Honduras currently produces more than 300,000 metric tons of palm oil, nearly 70 percent for export. The number of hectares has increased dramatically: 40, 000 ha in 90's and 80.000 ha in 2005, nowadays the number exceeds 120, 000 ha.

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Project area:8,900
Level of Investment for the conflictive project100,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:350 000 - 400 000
Start of the conflict:1992
Company names or state enterprises:Dinant Corporation from Honduras
Relevant government actors:Gobierno de Honduras, Ejército Militar, National Agrarian Institute (INA),
International and Finance InstitutionsDeutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft from Germany
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE)
Clean Development Mechanism Executive Board (CDM Executive Board)
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:National Peasants Movement, FIAN Internacional (Organización Internacional por el Derecho a la Alimentación), FIDH (Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos), Rel-UITA (Regional latinoamericana de la Unión Internacional de los Trabajadores de la Alimentación, Agrícolas, Hoteles, Restaurantes, Tabaco y Afines), Vía Campesina Internacional, Movimiento Campesino del Aguán (MCA), Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguán (MUCA), Movimiento Auténtico Reivindicativo Campesino del Aguán (MARCA), Vía Campesina Internacional,Observatorio de Derechos Humanos en el Aguán (ODHA)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Other Health impactstortures and psychological impacts to children caused by violence, arsons in schools and murders of their mothers and fathers.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:Occupancy of lands that - according to the reform agrarian laws- formerly belonged to farmers
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The conflict has increased since the coup d´état in 2009. In Honduras, the politicians still helping the private sector to increase the number of hectares to plant oil palm. The peasants still resisting and implementing strategies of occupancy of land.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Honduras: Violaciones de Derechos Humanos en el Bajo Aguán Informe Preliminar de la Misión de Verificación Internacional - Realizada del 25 febrero a 4 marzo de 2011
[click to view]

Human Rights Watch (2014) “There Are No Investigations Here” Impunity for Killings and Other Abuses in Bajo Aguán, Honduras
[click to view]

The Guardian - EU carbon credits scheme tarnished by alleged murders in Honduras
[click to view]

Honduras: Cementerio clandestino en el Bajo Aguán
[click to view]

Biofuel Watch
[click to view]

Human Rights Violations Attributed to Military Forces in the Bajo Aguan Valley in Honduras
[click to view]

Trucchi, G. Honduras: Para que nunca vuelva a ocurrir
[click to view]

Trucchi, G. De nuevo corre la sangre en el Bajo Aguán
[click to view]

Trucchi, G. Bajo Aguán: Movilizados y unidos en defensa del derecho a la tierra
[click to view]

[click to view]

Conflicto agrario en el Bajo Aguán: el caso MUCA
[click to view]

Carbon Market Watch
[click to view]

The Guardian: EU carbon credits scheme tarnished by alleged murders in Honduras
[click to view]

Biofuel Watch: Palm oil in the Aguan Valley, Honduras: CDM, biodiesel and murders
[click to view]

CDM UNFCCC: Project 3197 : Aguan biogas recovery from Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) ponds and biogas utilisation - Exportadora del Atlántico, Aguan/Honduras
[click to view]

Dinant anuncia que desarmará a vigilantes en el Bajo Aguán
[click to view]

CDM UNFCCC - Project 3197 : Aguan biogas recovery from Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) ponds and biogas utilisation - Exportadora del Atlántico, Aguan/Honduras
[click to view]

WRM: Honduras: Bajo Aguán – Cry for the Land
[click to view]

[click to view]

Honduras: informe registra 123 muertos y 6 desaparecidos por el conflicto agrario en el Bajo Aguán
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Alba Sud y la Rel-UITA (“Bajo Aguán: Grito por la tierra” (Lower Aguan river valley, the clamor for land)
[click to view]

Tele Sur Tv. Conflicto en el Bajo Aguán daña a la comunidad
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Teresa Perez y Grettel Navas
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1092
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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