For three years now, brutal murders have shocked Honduras’ Bajo Aguan region. 88 small-scale farmers, labour activists and lawyers have been killed because they were trying to reclaim land from Grupo Dinant, a notorious palm oil company. Dinant had stolen the farmers’ land in order to establish palm oil plantations.
Even though the region has long been occupied by police and military forces, further killings are being reported every month. Villages and buildings are being destroyed and burnt down by the state forces. The people living there are driven from their land by violent means.
The World Bank is financing Dinant with a loan of more than $15 million and is seemingly planning on transferring the same amount again to the palm oil company in the near future.
In November 2009, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation paid the first of two £15 million loan instalments to Grupo Dinant, a notorious palm oil company in Honduras. The money was paid shortly after a military coup had ousted the democratically elected President – a coup backed by Grupo Dinant’s CEO, Miguel Facusse.
Dinant’s oil palm plantations have been at the centre of land conflicts dating back to the 1970s. Since the coup, Dinant and another palm oil company have been implicated in the murder of around 80 peasants. Killings are continuing with complete impunity, the region around the plantations has been heavily militarised and long-standing peasant communities have been violently evicted. Yet the World Bank’s loan assessment – last updated in February 2013 – claims: “Dinant understands the importance of having good relationships with their neighbouring communities and are quite proactive in this regard.”
Following an NGO complaint by Rights Action, the World Bank’s Ombudsman is now considering whether all of the correct procedures have been followed. There is no guarantee that the World Bank will not pay the second $15 million instalment to Dinant – nor are they considering to formally withdraw the entire loan. And the Ombudsman’s remit is worryingly narrow.
Please tell the World Bank to cancel the loan and prevent similar loans in future:
Thanks for being involved,
Rainforest Rescue (Rettet den Regenwald e.V.)