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German development bank withdraws Dinant finance in response to human rights violations in Bajo Aguán, Honduras

Heidelberg, April 12, 2011 – This week public development bank DEG (Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft) formally advised the FIAN International Secretariat it will discontinue its contractual relationship with the Dinant Corporation in Honduras on the basis of an in-depth analysis of the rural conflict in Bajo Aguán.

Cologne-based DEG declares that it will no longer grant Dinant a loan, the value of which Dinant owner Miguel Facussé reportedly put at $20 million USD.

On March 18 FIAN International presented DEG the 2011 International Mission’s Preliminary Report on human rights violations in Bajo Aguán . On March 25 the Mission’s preliminary report was submitted to the Rapporteur for Honduras in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

FIAN requested that DEG review its contract with Dinant and suspend financial cooperation with the company on the basis of the grave human rights violations documented in the Report and evidence of the involvement of private security forces hired by Dinant and other companies owned by Miguel Facussé in human rights abuses and, in particular, in the murders of peasants in Bajo Aguán .

FIAN commends DEG’s decision, which follows the International Mission’s recommendations "that the bilateral cooperation and the multilateral banks review all their financial cooperation agreements with the public security forces and with the private companies allegedly involved in acts of violence, harassment and human rights violations in the region".

Martin Wolpold-Bosien, FIAN coordinator for Central America, considers DEG's decision to be a very important step.

"FIAN welcomes this decision because it can prevent further human rights violations against peasant communities in Bajo Aguán by making clear to offending parties that such behavior will have financial repercussions.

"[This decision] also reinforces similar appeals to other corporate entities that continue to finance companies that have been denounced for human rights abuses, such as the World Bank’s International Finance Cooperation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the British government, in respect to the framework for the Clean Development Mechanism."

The International Mission, conducted from February 25 to March 3, was a joint effort between APRODEV, CIFCA, FIAN International, FIDH, Rel-UITA, and La Via Campesina, with support from the national human rights organizations COFADEH, CDM, CIPRODEH, the Commission for Truth and FIAN Honduras.

See the letter campaign by Save the Forest to the British government

See photos from Bajo Aguán by Giorgio Trucchi

See the Preliminary Report of the International Mission: