In May 2011, Cultural Survival’s Global Response program launched a campaign to protect the Patuca River from construction of a hydroelectric dam by the Chinese company Sinohydro. This week, campaign partners OFRANEH, (the Federation of Garifuna People of Honduras) posted an expose of Sinohydro’s disreputable history in controversial dam projects around the world. Most recently, they were accused of illegally diluting the mixture of cement used in construction of the Bakum 1 dam on the island of Borneo.
OFRANEH reported found that Sinohydro has financed or constructed more than 250 dams in 57 countries, including the Three Gorges dam in China, the largest dam in the world and the source of major environmental problems. Dams known as Gibe III and future Gibe IV in Ethiopia put at risk more than a half million people and 10 Indigenous peoples. In the case of the Three Gorges, the Chinese government recently reported that they spent more than $15.5 billion just in impact studies to understand the extent of the environmental damage. With one and a half million people displaced, the project has been deemed a “total disaster-– socially, ecologically, and economically” by government officials quoted in the Shanghai Daily.
In Honduras, Sinohydro signed a contract with the government to build Patuca III, the first of three dams planned on the Patuca River. The company has consistently ignored Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior, and informed consent for projects that will affect them Honduras has endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169, both of which require companies to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before starting construction.
OFRANEH reiterated that the Tawahka Indigenous people who inhabit the banks of the Patuca River will be affected by the loss of their only means of transportation through the vast, roadless Moskitia wilderness. The accusation presented in Malaysia that Sinyhydro diluted cement used in construction is of great concern to the Tawahka people and all the communities downstream from the Patuca III dam site since they would be directly affected by any flooding incidents due to poor construction of the dam
See International River's profile of Sinohydro Corporation, including a full list of their international projects.
Please support the Tawahka, Miskitu, Pech, and Garifuna communities in their struggle against Sinohyro’s dams in Honduras. Write a letter to officials in Honduras to express your opposition to the Patuca III dam.
Yangtze River, China. By Christoph Filnkößl (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons