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Central America




Case: Juana Doe et al. v. IFC

Honduran Farmers Sue World Bank Group for Complicity in Human Rights Violations.

This is one of the most severe cases of corporate-related human rights abuse (and financier negligence) in the past decade. The International Financial Corporation (IFC), the World Bank group’s private lending arm, provided loans to Honduran millionaire Miguel Facussé’s palm oil businesses even though, at the time, there were widespread allegations that his company, Dinant, employed hitmen, military forces, and private security guards to intimidate and kill local farmers in the Bajo Aguan who had contested Facussé’s claims to the land. The IFC (with US taxpayer money) financed Dinant’s campaign of terror and dispossession against Honduran farmers. The IFC’s own internal watchdog, the CAO, found that IFC failed to adhere to its own policies to protect local communities, and continued to allow the company to breach those safeguards and either failed to spot or deliberately ignored the serious social, political and human rights context in which this company is operating.

The result of IFC’s support was an explosion of extreme violence by public and private security forces against the Honduran farmers, their movement leaders, and lawyers representing them in land rights cases. Over 100 farmers have been killed in the Bajo Aguan since November 2009 when the IFC disbursed the first half of a $30 million loan to Dinant; and the number of killings continues to grow today. So too has IFC’s support of Dinant; even after the IFC’s internal watchdog scolded IFC for the 2009 loan, IFC continued supporting Dinant via an opaque system of financial intermediaries.

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