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Stand for the Land campaign concludes with Honduran ambassador to Canada receiving over 52,000 signatures

Press release
For immediate release

L to R: Romina Acosta, Communications and Public Relations Advisor; Mary Durran, Latin America Programs Officer; Carl Hétu, Executive Director; Her Excellency Beatriz Valle, Ambassador of Honduras to Canada; Gabrielle Dupuis, Vice-President of the National Council; and Angela Davis, member of Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.

Montreal, April 25 2024Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada concluded its 2023 mobilization campaign, Stand for the Land, on Wednesday, April 24, by handing over to Her Excellency Beatriz Valle, Ambassador of Honduras to Canada, a letter signed by 52,629 Canadians that draws the attention of the Government of Honduras to the struggles of people in Guapinol and the San Pedro sector. Since 2015, these communities have been protesting an open-pit iron mine that was irregularly set up in Carlos Escaleras National Park.

Her Excellency said she was “touched by the solidarity expressed by the Canadian population towards the community of Guapinol, which is so far away.” She promised to pass on the message to her Minister of Foreign Affairs and to ask people in Congress to take up the Guapinol case with her government.

The initial goal of the campaign was to collect 32,000 signatures (1,000 for each of the 32 unjustly imprisoned Guapinol defenders), but Canadians responded with such exceptional solidarity that this goal was well surpassed. The handover of the letter was done by a five-person delegation that was supported by several members of the organization.

During the meeting, Carl Hétu, executive director of Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada, highlighted that on March 22, Her Excellency Elizabeth Williams, Ambassador of Canada to Honduras, had visited the Guapinol community, accompanied by our campaign partner, ERIC-Radio Progreso, to express solidarity with the victims of the conflict and their families. Hétu said he hoped that the campaign would support the Honduran government in implementing concrete action to help the Guapinol and San Pedro communities, especially since, as the delegation understood, debate within Honduras was sowing division, to the detriment of the poor.

Gabrielle Dupuis, vice-president of the national council, left the meeting proud “to have been able to bring the voices of more than 52,000 Canadians to the table,” and hoping these voices would encourage the Honduran government to continue implementing reforms that favour vulnerable communities. 

Elvin Hernández, a human rights investigator with ERIC-Radio Progreso, said, “I hope this information will be passed on to the President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, and that from there, the three fundamental demands you have so confidently made [in the letter] can be addressed or expedited.”

For the communities of Guapinol and San Pedro, this meeting is a major step toward the recognition of their rights. It sends a strong message to the Honduran government, telling it that over 52,600 people in Canada Stand for the Land and support the communities’ struggle to obtain protection for Carlos Escaleras National Park; an end to persecution of environmentalists; and just compensation for the Guapinol Eight, who remained unfairly incarcerated for over two years.

Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada would like to thank our members and the Canadian public for their important role in the success of this campaign.

This press release is also available in Spanish.

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About Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada

Development and Peace — Caritas Canada is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. It works in partnership with local organizations in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East to create greater justice in the world and to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable people.

For more information, contact: 

Minaz Kerawala
 Communications and Public Relations Advisor
 Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada
 514 257-8710 ext. 328 | mkerawala@devp.org

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