Thursday, October 20, 2011

Biofuel demand and CO2 quotas drive violent land grabs in Honduras

To the country whose history coined the term "banana republic" land grabs is not a new phenomenon. The European Union funding it by buying carbon credits and biofuel from the perpetrators is, however.

In the case of Honduras, the global rush for production of biofuel and access to carbon credits is making it profitable for national and international business to maintain the unequal distribution of land between Honduras' poor and the elite. It also makes it possible for international institutions, corporations and donors to support domestic land grabbing or the
status quo of unequal land ownership where serious human rights abuses occur. To this date, there is no global human rights mechanism incorporated in the global carbon market that can prevent countries from buying carbon credits from CDM-projects in developing countries, which include land grabbing tactics or land issues where human rights are violated.
- "Stolen Land, Stolen Future", p. 4

The Bajo Aguan valley on the north coast is a hot spot for not just land disputes but drug trafficking and crime in general. The elite owns most of the land which is increasingly used for production of internationally subsidized biofuels and other export crops. During year 2011 about 40 people were killed in conflicts between security forces and landless peasants. October 2011 about 45 people were killed in a clash between poor squatting peasants and authorities.

"There are worrying signs that the Honduran government is moving 1200 police officers and military personnel into the area [...] That has previously been a source of conflict."
- Toni Sandell, human rights worker with Aprodev, a coalition of Christian NGO's

The Green group in the European Parliament demand of Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard that the EU stop buying carbon credits via the CDM project from the Honduran palm plantations.

Sources: Stolen Land, Stolen Future (1.26 MB PDF), Inside Costa Rica / Honduras: Nearly 44 People Killed in Aguan, EurActive / Carbon credits tarnished by human rights 'disgrace'.

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