Honduras, May 10, 2014: Yesterday, Corporaćion Dinant formally applied to the Honduran courts for an eviction notice to be served on trespassers occupying Dinant’s African Palm Plantation in the Paso Aguán region of Honduras.
Once an eviction notice is served, it will then be the responsibility of Government security forces – acting under direct instruction from the Honduran courts and with no involvement by Dinant – to supervise the removal of the trespassers.
Between 35 and 250 people have been occupying a small area of Dinant’s plantation since Monday, May 5. Local authorities gave the protestors until Friday May 9 to remove themselves from the property. When that deadline passed, Dinant sought the assistance of the courts.
Roger Pineda, spokesperson for Dinant, said, “Up until Friday, May 9, the protest had been carried out peacefully and by unarmed protestors. However, on Friday the peaceful protestors were joined by trespassers bearing arms. As it is company policy that none of Dinant’s plantation security staff carry firearms, they immediately left the premises for their own safety. We now urge the trespassers to cede control of the Paso Aguán planation to Xatruch, the joint
military task force, and to peacefully, safely and quickly leave the plantation.”
Once an eviction notice has been served, the removal of the trespassers will be undertaken exclusively by Government security forces, acting under direct instruction from the Honduran courts, whose rulings are based on evidence that proves beyond doubt that Dinant are the rightful owners of the land in question.
Mr. Pineda continued, “Dinant is not in conflict with the genuine peasant associations of the Paso Aguán region or any other part in the country – we source much of our raw materials from nearby smallholder farmers and rely on local communities to maintain and harvest our crops. However, the fact remains that armed groups are using the Honduran land conflicts for their wider political objectives by terrorizing local communities and encouraging the illegal seizure of private lands that provide jobs and wages to the very communities that need them most. We
remain committed to finding a long-term solution to land conflicts in Honduras.”
As today’s incident at Paso Aguán shows, it is rightfully the role of the Honduran security forces – and not Dinant – to enforce law and order. However, we know that we can help improve difficult situations by respecting and following local laws and international standards, by mitigating the potential for conflict, and by helping the public authorities as much as we can.
That is why Corporaćion Dinant has vowed to help the Attorney General’s special investigation into the land conflict in the Bajo Aguán region. And, as part of Dinant’s efforts to operate in a safe, transparent and respectful manner, we have removed firearms from security staff at all of our plantation sites, locking them away under the sole supervision of the Government authorities and to be used only as a last resort in order to protect lives. Furthermore, we are fully implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, which govern how we vet, recruit and train our security staff, and how they engage with members of the community. We are proud that we will be the first to adopt this initiative in Honduras and throughout the global agribusiness sector.
About Dinant Corporation
Corporaćion Dinant is a family-owned consumer products manufacturer whose food and cleaning brands are renowned for their high quality and value. Founded in Honduras by Miguel Facussé in 1960 – and with extensive operations in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic – Dinant produces high-quality snacks, cooking oils, processed foods, fruits and vegetables, and home care products for sale throughout Central America, Dominican Republic and for export to global markets. Dinant directly employs almost
8,000 people and supports over 22,000 livelihoods, generating over US$170 million in exports for the Honduran economy, and contributing significantly to the economies of all the countries in which it operates.
Dinant is committed to the economic, social and environmental development of the region. In addition to constantly meeting the high expectations of our valued customers, our goal is to improve the living standards of all the communities in which we operate by creating well-paid sustainable jobs and significantly improving the skills, education and health of thousands of local people, including our own staff. Dinant’s Corporate Security Policy and Code of Ethics is based on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a commonly accepted
benchmark for corporate operations. For six consecutive years, Dinant has been recognized as a Socially Responsible Corporation by the Honduran Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation (FUNDAHRSE) in recognition of our good practices.
May 10, 2014
CORPORATE RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Media contact: Roger Pineda, firstname.lastname@example.org