For Immediate Release
Investor Announcements are One Step Towards Ending Tainted Agua Zarca Project
The Dutch Development Finance Company (FMO) and Finland’s Finnfund, two of the development banks backing the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras, yesterday announced they would seek an exit to their involvement in the project. In response, George Redman, Oxfam’s director in Honduras, said:
“Yesterday’s announcements are important in bringing us one step closer to finally shutting down the tainted Agua Zarca project. It’s unconscionable that it has taken the murder of Goldman Environmental Prize winner Berta Cáceres to get us to this point. This project remains highly contentious and was mismanaged from the start. Other protesters have been shot at, beaten up and threatened. This project threatens the indigenous Lenca community’s access to the River Gualcarque, a sacred site to them and an important source of food and water, and the community did not consent to it.
“Despite the international outcry after Berta’s murder, the biggest investor in the Agua Zarca project remains unmoved. We urge CABEI, the Central American development bank, to follow FMO and Finnfund and begin a full withdrawal from the project. This project has sparked murder, violence and injustice and CABEI should have no business in it.
“We all have a right to determine what happens on our lands. FMO and Finnfund’s announcement again underscores the vital need for all development banks to have the free, prior and informed consent of local communities affected by their projects before a single shovel strikes their soil.
“While we commend the Honduran authorities for taking action and arresting suspects in Berta’s murder, this cannot be end of the case. Everyone connected to her death, from those who ordered it, to those who shot her, must stand trial. We continue to demand a thorough, independent investigation, supervised by international observers. Otherwise, we cannot be sure that justice will truly be delivered.”
Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.