Both ENDS and SOMO welcome the announcement done today by the Dutch and Finnish development banks, FMO and FinnFund, to exit the controversial Agua Zarca hydroelectric project in Honduras. Conflict about the project has led to violence in the region, including the murder of three leaders who opposed the project. In March 2016, renowned human rights defender Berta Caceres was murdered for opposing this project in indigenous Lenca territory.
In 2005, a palm oil company approached the villagers of Kiungkang in West-Kalimantan, Indonesia, with offers to convert their farms to oil palm smallholdings. Many farmers agreed to the proposal because of the high monthly incomes promised by the company that they could earn from the oil palms. Unfortunately, the palm oil dream turned out to be an illusion.
On June 5th, World Environment Day, community members at the southern coast of Guatemala protested against the rapid spread of large-scale palm oil, sugar cane and banana plantations in their region. Utz Che', our local partner organisation, joined the march.
A year ago, the Senegalese NGO Takkom Jerry filed a complaint with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Dutch Development Bank FMO, with support from Both ENDS. These banks finance the Sendou coal power station, right next to the fishing village of Bargny. The AfDB has now recognized the complaint. FMO is already processing the complaint and will publish an official response shortly.
The closing of the Barro Blanco dam last year caused not only material but also cultural damage in the affected Ngäbe-Buglé communities in Panama. So far, funder FMO is not taking responsibility for the human rights abuses caused by the project. So, what now?
How can we more effectively implement FPIC-legislation and ensure the fundamental community rights of indigenous peoples are protected? Both ENDS' Wiert Wiertsema explores this question in an article in the newsletter of our partner NTFP-EP.
The Netherlands is facing an important choice this week. On one side, there are political parties that want to shut the country off from the outside world and let climate change advance unchecked. On the other side, there are parties calling on the Netherlands to once again take the lead in areas like climate change, fair taxes and sustainable trade. Both ENDS believes that such leadership is crucial now more than ever.
Today is International Women's Day. A day originating from women's strikes against poor working conditions in the textile industry, some 100 years ago. Since then, a lot has improved for women but, unfortunately, men and women obviously still don’t have equal rights. In 1949, Simone de Beauvoir already warned that ‘women’s rights will never be vested. You have to stay vigilant your whole life’. Recent developments such as the tightening of abortion laws in some countries confirm this view and show that even in the ‘free West’ women’s rights are still far from self-evident.
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.
We grieve over the decease of Mr. Severino Cassiano da Silva – better known as Biu - last Sunday the 5th of February, 2017. Biu was the last native resident of Tatuoca Island in Pernambuco State, Brazil. His life and fate were blended with this island, where previously more than 50 families lived from traditional fisheries and artisanal agriculture and fruit trees.