MEPs demand the release of Guapinol environmental defenders, Sakharov Prize finalists


Today, 4th February, the final conclusions will be presented in the trial against the eight environmental rights defenders, Sakharov Prize finalists in 2020, following 29 months of arbitrary detention in connection with fabricated charges, as stated by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Tilly Metz, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA group, comments:

“Today is a key moment in the trial against the eight Guapinol environmental defenders. We demand their immediate release and the granting of comprehensive reparation and compensation for their arbitrary detention, in line with the resolution of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

 Supporting environmental rights defenders is a key element of the European Union’s human rights external relations policy. Therefore, we believe it is crucial that the EU Delegation will be observing the hearing taking place today in Tocoa, Colón Department, to ensure compliance with national law and applicable international obligations and commitments.”

Miguel Urbán Crespo, Member of the European Parliament, the Left, comments:

“The eight environmental defenders have been arbitrary detained for more than two years for their legitimate human rights activities, right to water and their work protecting the environment. This is a political trial to punish the legitimate defence of the communities to protect the environment from the spoliation of extractivism. That is why, as The Left and the Greens/EFA  Groups, we have demanded the European Parliament to take a position in favour of the defenders, we have asked the EU delegation in Honduras and the embassies of the Member States  to mobilize in this case since its inception, including through public messages on social networks.“


The Guapinol human rights defenders are a group of members of the Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Goods of Tocoa (Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos de Tocoa – CMDBCP), a movement created in 2015 to defend their local rivers and the Botadero Mountain National Park. An iron mining project owned by EMCO Mining Company (now called Los Pinares Investments) risked contaminating the Guapinol, San Pedro and Ceibita rivers. While the mining concessions were granted, the Guapinol defenders have faced criminalisation, threats and harassment.

In 2020, the eight Guapinol defenders were chosen as finalists for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize: José Daniel Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Ewer Alexander Cedillo, Orbin Nahún Hernández, Arnol Javier Alemán and Jeremías Martínez Díaz.

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