Dutch development bank one small step closer to withdrawing from tainted Agua Zarca project in Honduras
The Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras began construction without the approval of the Indigenous community affected by the work, according to a new independent report commissioned by one of the backers.
Farah Karimi, Oxfam Novib’s executive director, said: “We’re happy to see FMO critically examine their role in the Agua Zarca project, which has led to many deaths and even more broken lives.
“Oxfam’s priority is to make sure FMO plans for a socially responsible exit which looks out for the people of Honduras, not just their bottom line. This should help lead to the withdrawal of all lenders and finally end the controversial project.
“FMO has said all parties involved must be heard in crafting a responsible exit strategy. We urge them to respect the rights of the local communities and work in close consultation with them, as well as COPINH, in planning their exit.”
George Redman, Oxfam’s country director in Honduras, said: “The lenders have a responsibility to repair the damage done. They should take the lead in continuing the social development programs started by their client DESA and expanding their reach. It’s the least they could do to help communities still grieving for the family and friends killed in the conflict.”
The report was commissioned by the Dutch development bank FMO, one of the financial backers of the controversial project. The slain Indigenous rights defender Berta Caceres opposed the construction of the project up until her murder in March.
COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) is the indigenous rights organization co-founded by Berta Caceres.
Simon Hernandez-Arthur in Washington
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