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The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant published an advertisement today on the Agua Zarca project in Honduras asking FMO to withdraw from the project.
FMO deeply regrets and is shocked by the violent death of Berta Cáceres, a well-respected human rights activist. We extend our sincere condolences to her daughter, family and friends that she leaves behind. The loss they have suffered is beyond comprehension.
When violence against activists continued, FMO decided to temporarily suspend its activities in Honduras. FMO has called upon the Honduran government for a thorough investigation of the events and to hold those responsible to account. The Dutch government has urged for an independent investigation and for improvement of the human rights situation in Honduras in general.
The right of speech for those who stand for their rights and livelihoods of people is of very high value to FMO. Every individual should be able to feel safe when defending their position. FMO rejects and condemns any violence against those individuals and groups.
FMO is deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Honduras, with ongoing violence against activists. It has expressed that concern also yesterday at the European Parliament.
We strongly believe that all concerns raised in the protests around the project have been met through a thorough redesign and the numerous consultation and dialogue processes that our client, independent advisors and our own staff have undertaken with the local population. Please also see the animation of the project and the FAQ.
However, unrest continues. That is why we organize a mission including FMO’s CEO to travel to Honduras to get a complete understanding of the local situation. Additionally, we will continue our extensive dialogue with multiple stakeholders. An appointment has been scheduled for next week to meet in the Netherlands with Ms. Cáceres, daughter of Berta Cáceres, and members of COPINH where we will listen to their concerns.
FMO is one of the financers of the Agua Zarca project. The project is owned and developed by the Honduran company DESA. A possible decision to exit as one of the lenders does not mean that the project will stop. More important, it would also deprive the local communities, who are in favour of the project, of much needed clean energy and jobs. These are severe consequences. Therefore, we can only take an informed and responsible decision, after extensive stakeholder engagement and thorough investigation.
For more information and facts about the Agua Zarca project, please look at https://www.fmo.nl/agua-zarca.