In the News in July & August

Three articles were published in the months of July & August that highlight issues that myself and the HSN work on. Check them out:

THE GUARDIAN: US Investigating Allegations Honduran Military had Hitlist of Activists to Target

By: Ed Pilkington and Nina Lakhani

 Military police personnel raid dwellings in search of leaders of the MS-13 gang in Tegucigalpa on 20 May 2016. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

Military police personnel raid dwellings in search of leaders of the MS-13 gang in Tegucigalpa on 20 May 2016. Photograph: Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images

The US government is investigating allegations that a hitlist of activists was circulated to special forces units of the Honduran military with instructions to eliminate the targets, including Berta Cáceres, the celebrated environmental campaigner who was later gunned down in her home.

US officials have been in contact with counterparts in the Honduran government, as well as individuals and groups that monitor human rights in the country, to look into the allegations of a hitlist that were first reported in the Guardian.

The US ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon, told the Guardian: “We take allegations of human rights abuses with the utmost seriousness. We always take immediate action to ensure the security and safety of people where there is a credible threat.”

THE GUARDIAN: Did Hillary Clinton stand by as Honduras coup ushered in era of violence?

By: Nina Lakhani

 A pedestrian walks past a row of soldiers near the presidential palace following a coup d’etat that saw President Manuel Zelaya ousted in Tegucigalpa on 28 June 2009. Photograph: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

A pedestrian walks past a row of soldiers near the presidential palace following a coup d’etat that saw President Manuel Zelaya ousted in Tegucigalpa on 28 June 2009. Photograph: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

It was the early hours of the morning, and protesters who had gathered to support their deposed president were resting in the streets of the Honduran capital when the security forces attacked.

Three months after he was snatched by troops and unceremoniously expelled from the country, Manuel Zelaya had returned to Tegucigalpa and taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Thousands of his supporters flocked to the mission, intending to stay there until he was able to resume power.

Agustina Flores, 46, had gone in search of coffee when the shooting began. Police fired water cannons and dropped teargas grenades from helicopters into the sleeping crowds.

“The police and soldiers were firing rubber and live bullets into the crowd, beating women and the elderly. One [tear gas] grenade exploded near me; after that I blacked out.”

NOW (Toronto): Gravedigging for gold

By: Adria Vasil

 Blockade near ancient cemetery where Toronto-based Aura Minerals wants to expand its gold mining operations in Honduras. photo: Karen Spring

Blockade near ancient cemetery where Toronto-based Aura Minerals wants to expand its gold mining operations in Honduras. photo: Karen Spring

What's a gold pendant or ring worth in the grand scheme of things? If you're living in the path of a Canadian gold mining company in Azacualpa, Honduras, the cost includes digging up a local cemetery where six communities have been burying their dead for two centuries.

Since the late 90s, three successive Canadian mining companies have operated the open-pit San Andres gold mine in the highlands of western Honduras. The mine's history hasn't been pretty: cyanide spills, health complaints and forced displacements. 

Its latest owner, Toronto-based Aura Minerals Inc., which acquired the mine in 2009, announced earlier this month that it had finally cut a deal with the community, securing a "social license agreement" around moving the cemetery and relocating 139 families from the community into new homes in the vicinity. 

Company CEO James Bannantine heralded the agreement as a glittering example of corporate social responsibility, saying in a statement to the press: "We have aligned ourselves with international, Canadian and Honduran law and ensured good governance and respect for the environment, employment and human rights."