The Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ), condemns the criminal action which César Augusto Espinoza Muñoz and Abel Carbajal, priests of the parish of Arizona, Atlántida and international human rights volunteers with PROAH who were accompanying them, were victims of when yesterday, July 3rd at approximately 7 pm, when armed men driving a tourism vehicle, intercepted the vehicle that the priests and accompaniers were traveling in near Siguatepeque. The armed men forced them to stop their vehicle, pointed guns at them and took their vehicle and other belongings. They were then taken to another location in Siguatepeque where there were abandoned.

The priests Cesar Espinoza and Abel Carbajal as well as other leaders of the Atlántida department, are beneficiaries of protective measures from the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) as of December 2013; measures which have not been implemented by the State despite the fact the beneficiaries as well as MADJ have made concrete proposals to the State of Honduras for the protection of the lives and other rights
of the beneficiaries who are under threat due to their legitimate opposition to mining operations on the part of businessmen in the department of Atlántida.

MADJ denounces that days before this criminal action against the priests, several beneficiaries of protective measures issued by the IACHR and other members of MADJ of the Florida sector, have received repeated threats and harassment on the part of people linked to the mining company Minerales La Victoria, which is responsible for mining
project Buena Vista I which is opposed by the communities as it violates their individual and collective rights. MADJ warns that all of these actions which threaten the lives and security of leaders who denounce corruption and oppose the destruction of natural resources in the department of Atlántida occur following the June 30 hearing in Tela during which, thanks to the opportune action on the part of the victims, an attempt on the part of the Public Ministry to benefit the head of security for Minerales la Victoria, Wilfredo Funes, was rejected. Funes is in prison for crimes committed against human rights defenders in the zone.

MADJ again holds the State of Honduras responsible for failing to uphold its responsibility to respect and guarantee the human rights of priests Cesar Espinoza and Abel Carbajal, and leaders of MADJ, beneficiaries of
protective measures from the IACHR. MADJ demands that these and the many other criminal acts that we have denounced before the appropriate State institutions, be investigated and that the businessmen and corrupt functionaries who violate human rights and destroy the peace and tranquility of many rural communities that today suffer persecution on the part of national and transnational companies and corrupt state actors.


July 4, 2014.

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