Corporación Dinant understands that EarthRights International has filed a lawsuit in the United States against the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, regarding its financing of Dinant and linking the company to violence in the Bajo Aguán region of Honduras.
All allegations that Dinant is – or ever has been – engaged in systematic violence against members of the community are without foundation. It is absurd for EarthRights International to connect Dinant with high levels of insecurity in the Aguán valley on the grounds that several tragic deaths have occurred in the same region in which we own land.
Dinant has operated in the Bajo Aguán for many years. We care deeply about the wellbeing of our employees, the thousands of farmers who supply our processing plants, and the surrounding communities of which we are an integral part. We will remain members of these communities for the long term, helping to enhance the quality of life for all citizens that live and work here.
Dinant is widely regarded as a benchmark for doing business the right way in challenging parts of the world. We conduct our operations in a just and lawful manner, and we require the same of all our contractors, vendors and tenants. We are implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, an internationally accepted benchmark that governs how we vet, recruit and train our security men and women. Furthermore, we removed all firearms from the security guards at our plantations, extraction mills and manufacturing plants over two years ago.
Since securing a $15m loan from the IFC in 2009, Dinant has invested significant time and resources in modernizing our security, enhancing the natural environment and engaging peacefully with local communities. The IFC’s loan to Dinant was granted to support our ongoing investment program to increase production capacity; to expand and upgrade our distribution network; to enhance the surrounding natural environment; andto expand economic opportunities for those with limited financial resources, particularly in rural areas like the Aguán. By all these measures, and more, the IFC’s loan to Dinant has been a great success.
We invite all interested parties, including EarthRights International, to visit our African Palm plantations in the Bajo Aguán region, as well as the rest of our operations sites, to see the results of the extensive resources that Dinant is investing in creating sustainable, well-paid jobs. Only by talking directly to people that live and work here – rather than simply undertaking a rudimentary Internet search – can one get an accurate sense of the challenges and opportunities faced by the communities of this beautiful but troubled region of Honduras.