After the second shocking murder of an indigenous rights activist in Honduras in less than two weeks the Dutch development bank, FMO, and the Finish development bank, FinnFund, announced a suspension of all their operations in Honduras. They declare that they will no longer engage in new projects or disbursements in the country, including in new disbursements in the Agua Zarca Project.
‘The polluter pays’ is a good principle, but what about the institutions that financially support polluting companies and projects? Shouldn’t banks, that are often major investors in unsustainable activities, take their responsibility and pay as well? In the end, these banks also cash in. Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS contributed to research about the ‘Green Credit Policy’ of Chines banks, executed by the Chinese NGO ‘Green Watershed’. Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS and Chen Yu of Green Watershed have launched the report 'Green Credit Footprints of Chinese Banks'.
Today, it is exactly one year ago that Berta Cáceres was brutally murdered in her home in Honduras. Cáceres was a globally known human rights defender and coordinator of the indigenous Lenca organisation COPINH. The murder of Berta is closely related to her protest against the Agua Zarca dam, a hydroelectric project financed partially by the Dutch development bank FMO.
The Dutch development bank FMO and the Finnish FinnFund announced this week that they are seeking ‘a responsible and legal exit’ from the Agua Zarca project in Honduras. Last week, it was reported that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the murder of human rights activist Berta Cáceres, who opposed the project for many years. One of those arrested is the manager for social and environmental affairs of DESA, the company implementing the Agua Zarca project. Because the company is a direct client of FMO and FinnFund, the banks consider the arrest good reason to take action.
Last week, the conclusions of an independent fact-finding mission to the Agua Zarca Hydro-electric Project in Honduras, were released. The report was commissioned by one of the project financiers, the Dutch development bank FMO after human rights defender and fierce opponent of the dam Berta Cáceres was murdered in March 2016.