TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS, SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
Dinant rejects in the strongest possible terms the allegations made against the company and its founder, the late Miguel Facusse Barjum, in Nina Lakhani’s book “Who Killed Bertha Caceres” and subsequently quoted by other publications. These false and deliberately misleading allegations have been repeatedly investigated and refuted by several credible, neutral parties, including the respected law firm of Foley Hoag LLP, the International Finance Corporation, and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Recycling these baseless attacks, without ever fact-checking with Dinant, is irresponsible,
mendacious and unethical.
In the spirit of transparency, Dinant has willingly co-operated with several credible and independent investigations over the last decade. Without exception, these have found no evidence whatsoever to support allegations that Dinant has ever participated in organized criminal activity or operated outside of the legal framework. We refer enquiries specifically to the IFC’s lengthy and detailed monitoring of Dinant’s activities, and the report of the International Criminal Court that states unequivocally (chapter 142, page 49) that there is no reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed by private organizations in the Bajo Aguán.
Dinant is proud of its record, particularly in the Aguán. The Company strongly commends the efforts of UMVIBA, the special unit of the Honduran government that investigates violence and criminal activity in the Aguán. Dinant has also been open to working with any independent third party willing to investigate all incidents and allegations related to the company or any of its staff. Dinant has cooperated fully with the Honduran authorities, including the Ministerio Publico (Attorney General) and the Honduran National Police at all times.
The Company strongly condemns seizures of private land that violate legal security and drive away national and foreign investments, as well as violent attacks on private citizens, such as the murder of Berta Caceres. Many Dinant staff have been the victim of numerous violent – sometimes fatal – attacks over the years, some as recently as this year. We respect the investigations made by UMVIBA and invite all interested parties to contact UMVIBA for information on the convictions and charges that have already been made against persons accused of participating in violent acts in the Aguán.
Dinant has done more than simply state its standards. For example, the Company unilaterally disarmed its security guards many years ago in the Aguán and at all plantations, mills, main warehouses, and other facilities throughout the country. This unprecedented policy has been hailed as a model and studied by other companies in Honduras and elsewhere in Central America.
Dinant has been carefully vetted and accepted as an Engaged Member of the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights, the first agribusiness in the world to be so honored.
Neither Dinant nor any its shareholders have connections to, or business interests in, mining activities in Honduras or elsewhere. Nor did Dinant have any relationship or contact with Berta Caceres, and at no time was Dinant a target of her activities. Like all honest Hondurans, we at Dinant deplore her murder and strongly support the legal proceedings to bring her killers to justice.