05/24/2021.- The report “Mining, Environmental Health and Human Security in Honduras” published this May investigates the quality of life and water in Abisinia, Nueva Esperanza, and San Francisco Locomapa, three rural communities affected by mining and other extractive activities. This research has been conducted by two Jesuit organizations: the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice in Missouri, United States, and the Reflection, Research and Communication Team (ERIC) in Progreso, Honduras.
This research originates in the growing concern of Honduran civil society about the adverse impacts of mining in different regions of the country. Since the early 2000s, ERIC and Radio Progreso, two of the social centers of the Society of Jesus in Honduras, have been observing and denouncing, together with other organizations, the consequences of the extractivist development model on local communities.
On April 1, 2014, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States launched an international project of Social Analysis and Action Research Grants (SAARG) entitled “Mining, development and justice in Honduras: A community-based initiative for education and advocacy.” One of the purposes of this project is to strengthen Jesuit advocacy activities through action-oriented research and social analysis for organization, community, and political change. The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice and ERIC-Radio Progreso committed to designing and executing this project through a joint research team.
In 2017, a first report entitled “Socio-environmental impact of mining in the northwestern region of Honduras” was published with a focus on three case studies: Montaña de Botaderos (Aguán), Nueva Esperanza (Atlántida), and Locomapa (Yoro). In this first phase, the research focused on a critical view of the implementation of the extractivist development model in Honduras through the new Mining Law, as well as the responses of citizens to these policies and an in-depth examination of the concept of “human security” in populations and environments affected by mining.
The second report that we present today delves into the multidimensional analysis of human security based on the data collected in the field. Surveys were conducted in 206 households in the rural communities of La Abisinia, Nueva Esperanza, and San Francisco Locomapa, and 136 samples of water for human consumption and from 9 watersheds were analyzed to assess water quality in the three study communities. To interpret the results of the surveys, human security was used as an alternative methodological framework to the traditional concept of security. Human security focuses on the impact of the extractive model on economic, food, health and environmental quality security, in the personal and community security, and the political security of community residents as Honduran citizens.
The evidence obtained from this second report reveals that communities threatened by extractive activities in Honduras have low levels of income and education, suffer from food insecurity, lack of safe water and sanitation services, and do not have access to insurance and health services. quality, affordable healthcare. The Covid 19 pandemic has increased the vulnerability of these communities.
Also, the research also shows that the human insecurity experienced by the population is the result of the failure of the Honduran State to comply with the obligation to ensure the essential rights that make possible a life with social peace, comprehensive health and protection of water and natural resources. In the words of one villager: “If the State means the satisfaction of our basic needs and the security of living in peace, then we poor have never had a State in Honduras.”
Lastly, the people’s resistance to mining also expresses the search for alternative modes of economic development, social and political coexistence, and the protection of natural resources in Honduras. A demand that reflects the call of Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’ and his vision of integral ecology and ecological conversion to protect the common home.
The reports can be downloaded at the following links:
Report 1: Socio-environmental impact of mining in the northwestern region of Honduras, based on three case studies: Montaña de Botaderos (Aguán), Nueva Esperanza (Atlántida) and Locomapa (Yoro). [ Full report – Spanish / Executive Summary – English ]
Report 2: Mining, Environmental Health and Human Security: Results of the evaluation of the quality of life and water in Abisinia (Colón), Nueva Esperanza (Atlántida) and San Francisco Locomapa (Yoro), and the responsibility of the state in Honduras. [ Full Report Spanish / Full Report English / Executive Summary Spanish / Executive Summary English]
For information on this research report you can contact Fernando Serrano at firstname.lastname@example.org