DEG, an investment bank of the German government based in Cologne, announced yesterday in a letter to the International Committee of FIAN that after analyzing the land conflict in Honduras’ Lower Aguán they have decided to terminate their contractual relationship with Honduras’ Dinant Corporation.
As a result, the DEG announced that it will not be going forward with the loan it previously agreed to with that corporation. The owner of Dinant Corporation, Miguel Facussé, previously mentioned in a 2010 interview that the DEG had agreed to loan him $20 million US.
Prior to this decision, FIAN International had presented to DEG the “Preliminary Report of the International Mission” that had investigated human rights violations in the Lower Aguán, located on Honduras’ Atlantic coastline. That mission, which took place between February 25th and March 3rd, 2011, was a joint effort of the international organizations APRODEV, CIFCA, FIAN International, FIDH, Rel-UITA, and Vía Campesina, with support from national human rights organizations COFADEH, CDM, CIPRODEH, the Truth Commission and FIAN Honduras. On March 25th, 2011, the preliminary report was delivered to the Special Rapporteur for Honduras at the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in Washington.
Due to the serious human rights violations documented in this report, when combined with the collected evidence regarding the involvement of Miguel Facussé’s hired private security services in those violations, specifically the murder of peasant farmers in the Lower Aguán, FIAN had asked DEG to reevaluate it’s contractual relationship with these businesses, especially Dinant Corporation, and suspend it’s financial agreements with them.
FIAN commends DEG’s important decision to follow the recommendations of the International Mission, which stated, “we ask that, in the specific case of the Lower Aguán, all those with bilateral agreements and multilateral banks should reevaluate all financial agreements with the public security forces and private companies involved in acts of violence, kidnapping, and human rights violations in the region.”
Martin Wolpold Bosien, FIAN’s Central America Coordinator, believes that DEG’s decision is a very important step: “FIAN welcomes this decision as it may have a positive effect in preventing further human rights violations against the peasant farming communities of the Lower Aguán, by making those responsible for the violence aware that such behavior has financial costs.”
“Also,” continues Wolpold-Bosien, “the decision strengthens similar demands on other finance agencies that continue financing the implicated companies, such as the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the British Government by way of the Clean Development Mechanism.”