Honduras: World Bank palm oil loans linked to murders

Rettet den Regenwald e.V.

Honduras: World Bank palm oil loans linked to murders
The World Bank finances huge oil palm plantations in Honduras
Dear friends of the rainforests,

for three years now, brutal murders have shocked Honduras’ Bajo Aguan region.
88 small-scale farmers, labour activists and lawyers have been killed because they were trying to reclaim land from Grupo Dinant, a notorious palm oil company. Dinant had stolen the farmers’ land in order to establish palm oil plantations. 

Even though the region has long been occupied by police and military forces, further killings are being reported every month. Villages and buildings are being destroyed and burnt down by the state forces. The people living there are driven from their land by violent means.

The World Bank is financing Dinant with a loan of more than $15 million and is seemingly planning on transferring the same amount again to the palm oil company in the near future.

Please tell the World Bank to cancel the loan and prevent similar loans in future:

Thanks for being involved,

Klaus Schenck
Rainforest Rescue (Rettet den Regenwald e.V.)


This is the letter to the World Bank you'd be signing:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am deeply concerned that a World Bank loan paid by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to the Honduran plantation company Grupo Dinant in November 2009 has never been cancelled and that a second loan instalment of $15 million could be paid this year.

Although the Ombudsman (CAO) is currently investigating whether the World Bank followed its own standards and exercised ‘due diligence’, I fear that the remit of this investigation is far too narrow and does not address the real questions:

+ How did the World Bank come to lend money to a company that had been at the centre of land conflicts for several decades, shortly after a military coup backed by the company’s owner, and in the context of serious concerns over the new regime’s human rights record and widespread impunity?

+ Why did the World Bank give money to one of the richest in Honduras, one whose owner was supportive of and linked to the coup at a time when the Organisation of American States had suspended Honduras’s membership and had called on international institutions to review their relations with Honduras?

+ Why was the loan not cancelled when it became apparent that Dinant had breached the loan conditions by not disclosing its role in a large and growing number of murders and other human rights violations?

I believe that full answers to those questions must be disclosed and lead to a much wider review than solely of the loan granted to Grupo Dinant. It is unacceptable for the World Bank to invest in a country during or following a coup and in the face of international condemnation (e.g. by the Organisation of American States), and to invest in a country where human rights violations are being committed with impunity – especially when there are links between loan recipients and the regime in question. Furthermore, the case illustrates how meaningless supposed social and environmental ‘safeguards’ , including for palm oil investments are.

Meantime, Grupo Dinant must be found to be in breach in their loan conditions, the loan must be cancelled and no further funds must be paid out to the company.

Yours faithfully,


Australia's shareholding and relations with the World Bank