Honduras: DESA files defamation lawsuit against women's rights NGO over its representative's statements on the killing of Berta Cáceres

DESA has filed a lawsuit for defamation against the NGO Centro de Estudios de la Mujer (CEM-H). Suyapa Martínez, representative of the NGO, has publicly alleged that DESA was involved in the murder of Berta Cáceres.

The B&HRRC invited DESA to respond; a summary of the response in English is available here; the complete response is available only in Spanish here.

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Company response
7 March 2017

DESA response

Author: DESA

First, we must clarify the information in the article. DESA has never filed a civil lawsuit against a person for a particular crime. The lawsuit has been filed before the Honduran justice system for defamation and for blaming irresponsibly a company of a crime they did not commit. These actions, besides being an offence and a calumny in Honduras, represent a tremendous lack of ethic and of trueness. Honduras is a country with important challenges and investment projects, as those of DESA, contribute in creating quality jobs that allow hundreds of families escape poverty and reach a better life...Nevertheless, unfortunately there are people that arduously work to disqualify and destroy  the development opportunities that communities have in Honduras. To say a lie against DESA is to disqualify and to attack the motor of development of hundreds of families that due to these initiatives have found a job that allows them to construct a better future…

[This is a non-official translation by the BHRRC, the complete response is available in Spanish here]

Article
3 March 2017

Complaint against Centro de Estudios de la Mujer – Honduras

Author: Front Line Defenders

...On 28 February 2017, two days before the one-year anniversary of the killing of Berta Cáceres, Suyapa Martínez was notified that DESA had filed a lawsuit against CEM-H, based on declarations made by the human rights defender as a representative of the organization concerning the murder of Berta Cáceres. Suyapa Martínez publicly alleged that DESA was involved in the planning of the crime. On 2 May 2016, four men were arrested in connection with the murder of Berta Cáceres, two of whom have ties with DESA, the Honduran company that was building the Agua Zarca dam, a project Berta Cáceres had strongly opposed and campaigned against. In the complaint, the company requests indemnification for damages and losses to the amount of one million lempiras (approximately €40,400) for allegedly inaccurate and false declarations. The human rights defender is due to attend a court hearing at 10 am on 21 March 2017…[Refers to the case to Gladys Lanza Ochoa and Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Vivienda Social, Urbana y Rural]

Read the full post here