Friday, December 14, 2018

Roots of the Exodus: from the Honduran political crisis to the Refufee c...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"The struggle for justice for Berta Cáceres and the Lenca people isn't over" - Statement on today's conviction by COPINH, Berta's family, Gustavo Castro and the legal team

Statement by Berta's Family, COPINH, Gustavo Castro and the legal teams regarding the conviction of Sergio Rodríguez, Mariano Díaz, Douglas Bustillo, Elvin Heriberto Rápalo, Edilson Duarte, Oscar Haroldo Torres and Emerson Duarte

November 29, 2018

[Original en español]

The verdict that was just released DOES NOT satisfy our demands for justice as victims in the assassination of Berta Cáceres and the attempted assassination of Gustavo Castro.

The decision that has been made in the 1st District Sentencing Court condemning the group of hitmen and their intermediate structure related directly to the DESA corporation does not mean that justice has been obtained.

The structures and people who gave the money for these criminals to assassinate Berta Cáceres are still free and able to continue carrying out crimes like this one with impunity.

Since the beginning of this process - almost three years ago now - it has been clear that the assassination of Berta Cáceres was planned by the leadership of the DESA corporation and then  carried out by hitmen linked to the Honduran Armed Forces. Nonetheless, the full truth surrounding this crime and all of those responsible for it has been limited to those who were just condemned through intentional obfuscation by the Honduran state via its Attorney General and courts. They seek to deny access to the truth, which is part of true justice.

What has become even more clear during these legal proceedings, from which we have been expelled due to our refusal to be silent in the face of the daily abuses in the court room, is that the Atala Zablah family, who have an ownership stake in the DESA corporation, are behind the entire plot of persecution, intimidation, attacks and threats that led to the assassination of Berta Cáceres.

Our participation as victims is a fundamental part of the judicial process and the State, by systematically excluding us, perpetuates the impunity that inundates this country and causes so much harm.

During the trial we, along with international observers, diplomats and the press, bore witness to the telephone communications that show this participation. This also made it clear that the criminal acts committed by the DESA corporation under the leadership of this family go beyond the assassination and comprise a series of crimes carried out against Berta Cáceres, COPINH, the Lenca people and the public administration and state of Honduras.

We ask the state and its institutions, what interests are at stake that motivate you to behave in a way that protects the masterminds whose names are no secret? Why, despite clear evidence of their participation, have they still not been charged almost three years after this hideous crime? What are you waiting for to carry out your responsibility??

We demand that all of those responsible for the assassination of Berta Cáceres be brought to justice and not just those who were paid by DESA to carry our the crime.

The struggle for justice for Berta Cáceres and the Lenca people does not end with the chapter that closes today, the convictions of the lowest layer of the criminal structure, with which the Honduran state seeks to silence the demand for justice. On the contrary, we are deepening our efforts.

These convictions are the first step in the search for justice and the family, Gustavo Castro, COPINH and the legal teams have been accompanied by those who believe in Berta Cáceres, in her words and actions and we know that they will continue to make a principled stand on the side of truth and justice in the battles to come, which we will wage with complete determination.

The impunity that the masterminds of this crime continue to enjoy is part of the plot of corruption and violence that sustains the model of extraction that plunders our peoples. As victims, and other people, communities and organizations we commit to continue confronting it, like Berta Cáceres did, until dignity, truth and justice prevail in this case and in all of the struggles that are being waged right now throughout Honduras and the world.

We and the entire Honduran people are still owed a debt of justice!

Written in the city of Tegucigalpa on the 29th day of the month of November in the year 2018.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Call to Solidarity - One Year Later - Un Año Despues


Statement by the Honduras Solidarity Network November 28, 2018

Un año después - Un llamado a la  solidaridad.
El régimen hondureño usa la violencia contra su gente; Estados Unidos usa la violencia contra los refugiados que huyen de Honduras.
English follows the Spanish

El lunes 26 de noviembre de 2018, las autoridades hondureñas dispararon enormes cantidades de gases lacrimógenos y dispararon balas vivas en contra de una gran marcha de protesta en Tegucigalpa para conmemorar el primer aniversario del fraude electoral de noviembre de 2017. Al menos 3 personas resultaron heridas, una de ellas, Geovanni Sierra, trabajaba como reportero para UNE-TV cuando recibió un disparo. Esto sucedió un día después de que la Patrulla Fronteriza de los Estados Unidos disparara balas de goma y grandes cantidades de gas lacrimógeno -a través de la frontera hacia México- a la Caravana de Refugiados, la mayoría huyendo de Honduras, a quienes se les está impidiendo ingresar a los Estados Unidos. Sólo 2 días antes de este incidente, el hermano del presidente de hondureño de facto, Juan Orlando Hernández, fue arrestado en el aeropuerto de Miami por ser integrante del crimen organizado, con vínculos con el narcotráfico, en Honduras. Estos tres incidentes en 4 días son únicamente la punta del iceberg de la crisis de las políticas estadounidenses en Honduras y de un régimen dictatorial, con en su violencia y corrupción.

El 26 de noviembre de 2017, Honduras acudió a las urnas en una elección en la que se enfrentaron la derecha con el Partido Nacional y el presidente JOH a la cabeza (quien se postuló para la reelección de manera inconstitucional), y Alianza, una coalición entre el anti-golpista/resistente Partido LIBRE y miembros del Partido Anticorrupción. Estas elecciones, en vez de permitir a Honduras tomar un nuevo camino para restaurar la democracia y hacer que el país sea habitable para el pueblo, un flagrante fraude electoral, una nueva ola de represión, y la continua impunidad y corrupción sumieron al país en una crisis aún más profunda.

La crisis que comenzó con el golpe de estado de 2009 respaldado por los Estados Unidos, seguida de las elecciones de 2017 -también respaldadas por los Estados Unidos-, es más profunda y más amplia que nunca. Es esta crisis la que está expulsando a miles de hondureños de su país.

Mientras el pueblo hondureño continúa organizándose, nosotros respondemos con un llamado a la solidaridad para apoyar al pueblo que lucha por el cambio en Honduras y al pueblo que lucha por sobrevivir en el éxodo de refugiados.

Exigimos que los Estados Unidos y Canadá detengan todo apoyo al régimen hondureño. Apoyamos las demandas de libertad para todos los presos políticos y de justicia para todas las víctimas del régimen hechas por el pueblo Hondureño. Exigimos que los Estados Unidos detengan la represión contra los refugiados, que abra las fronteras a quienes están siendo expulsados de sus países, y que ponga fin a la militarización de la frontera y a la violencia contra todos los migrantes y refugiados.

28 de Noviembre 2018
Honduras Solidarity Network of North America


One year later - A Call to Solidarity 
Honduran regime uses violence against its people - US uses violence against refugees fleeing Honduras.

On Monday, November 26, 2018, Honduran authorities fired massive amounts of tear gas and opened fire with live bullets on a large protest march in Tegucigalpa to mark the one year anniversary of the November 2017 election fraud. At least 3 people were wounded, one of them, Geovanni Sierra, was working as a reporter for UNE-TV when he was shot. This happened one day after the US Border Patrol shot rubber bullets and quantities of tear gas across the border into Mexico at the refugees, most fleeing from Honduras, who are being held back from entering the US. Only 2 days before that incident the brother of the defacto president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez was arrested at the Miami Airport for being part of the narcotics trafficking organized crime in Honduras. These three incidents in 4 days, are just the tip of the iceberg of the crisis of US policy, and a dictatorial regime and its violence and corruption. 

On November 26, 2017, Honduras went to the polls in an election that was a face off between the right wing National Party sitting president JOH (who ran for reelection unconstitutionally) and the Alianza, an alliance between the anti-coup/resistance Party LIBRE and members of the Anti-Corruption Party. But, instead of the election allowing Honduras to take a new path to restore democracy and make the country livable for the people, blatant election fraud,  a new wave of repression and continuing impunity and corruption plunged the country even deeper into crisis.

That crisis began with the US backed 2009 coup, and after the 2017 election (also supported by the US), it is deeper and broader than ever before. It is this crisis that is pushing thousands of Hondurans out of their country. 
As the Honduran people continue organizing, we respond with a call for solidarity to support the people fighting for change in Honduras and to support the people fighting for survival in the refugee exodus. 

We demand that the US and Canada stop all support for the Honduran regime. We support the Honduran people’s demand for freedom for all the political prisoners and for justice for all the victims of the regime. We demand that the US stop the repression against the refugees, open the borders to those being pushed out of their countries and end the militarization of the border and violence against all migrants and refugees. 

November 28, 2018
Honduras Solidarity Network of North America



Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"They will kills us if we return" - Second Statement from Central American Exodus, from Tijuana

[Español abajo]


We do Not Want to RETURN to Violence
PRESS RELEASE

November 27th / Tijuana, Republic of Mexico

WHAT: Press Conference by Central American Exodus
WHEN: Tuesday, November 27th - 2pm
WHERE: Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez, Tijuana


Those of us who are here speaking before you were elected from amongst the group of migrants temporarily living here in the shelter at the Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez in the city of Tijuana.

Above all, we want to thank the people of the world and especially the citizens of Tijuana who have supported us and have shown solidarity with us during such difficult moments.

It has not been easy to leave our countries, to leave part of our family behind, to expose our children and to walk through unknown places in order to have a chance to live in the United States or other countries that can give us an opportunity to work an honest job and offer a better future to our children. We want them to have access to education, healthcare and a life without threats.

Today marks the 46th day of our EXODUS and we are very worried because we are fleeing a very serious situation. We are fleeing from violence and impunity in our countries and now there are so many of us that this has become a crisis. This is an emergency and we need information to make the best decisions to protect our lives.

Last Sunday we were the victims of repression by the U.S. border patrol, who launched teargas at us several times, affecting the children. We were only walking so that we could be visible, so that they would recognize that we are a large group of people who just want to be heard so that international law can protect us as we migrate and seek to improve our lives.

There are international organizations here that accept as fact that we will not be able to enter the United States and that we should be returned, but many of those of us who are travelling have to continue trying because they will kill us if we return to our countries.

We are very worried about our compatriots who disappeared in Veracruz and other places we have passed through. We are also worried about the detentions. Every day people disappear from the shelter, and we have noted the presence of people with ill intentions who come to offer us other ways to get across that would endanger our lives.

The report from the Tijuana police says that they have detained 164 Hondurans, 13 Salvadorans, 1 Nicaraguan and 16 Guatemalans.

Because of the above, we ask:

1.      For an end to the arbitrary, manipulative and involuntary deportations.

2.      For an acceleration of the process of applying for asylum in the U.S.

3.      For the formation of a commission by the incoming Mexican government to negotiate a permanent solution for those who wish to stay here. We suggest Mrs. Nashieli Ramírez, Director of Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission and Mr. Arturo Peimbert, Ombudsman for the city of Oaxaca.

4.      For the names of those deported to be released publically to civil society.

5.      For there to be Human Rights accompaniment at all times and during any detention to prevent the violation of migrant human rights.


We invite you to a PRESS CONFERECE
Today, November 27th at 2 p.m. at Door 1 of
the Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez en Tijuana



CENTRAL AMERICAN EXODUS FOR LIFE
On the march… ¡with dignity!

No queremos RETORNAR a la violencia
COMUNICADO DE PRENSA

27 de noviembre / Tijuana, República de México

Las personas que estamos hablando frente a ustedes hemos sido elegidas por el grupo de migrantes que estamos viviendo temporalmente aquí en el albergue de la Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez en la ciudad de Tijuana.

Antes que todo queremos agradecer a la gente de todo el mundo y especialmente a los ciudadanos de Tijuana que nos están apoyando y que han sido solidarios con nosotros en estos momentos tan dificultosos.

No ha sido fácil salir de nuestros países, dejar parte de nuestra familia, exponer a nuestros hijos y caminar por lugares desconocidos para tener la opción de vivir en Estados Unidos o en otros países que puedan darnos la oportunidad de trabajar honestamente y ofrecer un mejor futuro a nuestros hijos. Queremos que ellos tengan acceso a la educación, a la salud y a una vida sin amenazas.

Hoy se cumplen 46 días de nuestro ÉXODO y estamos muy preocupadas porque venimos huyendo de una situación muy grave, estamos huyendo de la violencia y la impunidad en nuestros países, y ahora somos tantos que esto se ha convertido en una crisis. Es una emergencia y necesitamos información para tomar las mejores decisiones para proteger nuestras vidas.

El domingo pasado fuimos víctimas de la represión de la policía fronteriza de Estados Unidos, nos tiraron bombas lacrimógenas varias veces, los niños padecieron mucho y nosotros solo estábamos caminando para que nos vieran, para que reconocieran que somos un grupo grande de personas que solo queremos ser escuchados para que las leyes internacionales nos protejan para migrar y buscar mejorar nuestras vidas.

Aquí hay organizaciones internacionales que dan por hecho que no vamos a poder entrar a Estados Unidos y debemos ser retornados, pero muchas personas que viajamos tenemos que seguir intentando porque nos van a matar si regresamos a nuestros países.

Nos preocupan nuestros compatriotas desaparecidos en Veracruz y en otros lugares por donde hemos pasado, también nos preocupan las detenciones, cada día desaparecen personas del albergue, y hemos visto la presencia de personas con malas intensiones que vienen a ofrecer otras formas para llegar al otro lado que pueden poner en riesgo nuestra vida.

El reporte de la policía de Tijuana dice que se han detenido 164 Hondureños, 13 de El Salvador, 1 de Nicaragua y 16 de Guatemala.

Por todo lo anterior queremos solicitar:

1.      Que se detengan las deportaciones arbitrarias, manipuladas e involuntarias.

2.      Que se agilicen los procesos de solicitud de asilo en Estados Unidos.

3.      Que se forme una comisión de parte del nuevo gobierno de México que venga a negociar una solución permanente para los que se quieran quedar aquí. Sugerimos a la Sra. Nashieli Ramírez, Directora de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Ciudad de México y al Sr. Arturo Peimbert, Ombudsman de la ciudad de Oaxaca.

4.      Que se haga público a la sociedad civil los nombres de los deportados.

5.      Que haya presencia de los Derechos Humanos en todo momento y en cada detención para que no se violen los Derechos Humanos de los migrantes.


Les invitamos a una CONFERENCIA DE PRENSA
hoy 27 de noviembre a las 2 p.m. en el portón 1
de la Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez en Tijuana



ÉXODO MIGRATORIO CENTROAMERICANO POR LA VIDA
En camino… ¡con dignidad!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Central American Exodus: First Press Release from Caravan calls for Recognition of Humanitarian Crisis

Central American migrant exodus must be recognized as a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

[Versión original español]

First Press Release
November 12th, 2018 / Guadalajara, Mexico

Today marks 31 days of the historic exodus of Central Aamerican migrants, known as the “Migrant Caravan,” which departed from Honduran territory on October 13, 2018.

Our exodus is a consequence of forced displacement caused by the widespread systematic violence suffered by men, women, children and entire families who flee from poverty and impunity in our countries of origin.

The whole world is watching with great concern as more than 13 thousand people in Mexican territory advance towards the U.S. border. This monumental collective rejection of violence has reached the dimension of a humanitarian crisis.

In an exercise of autonomy as a displaced group, we named a delegation to dialogue with United Nations authorities in Mexico on behalf of the more than five thousand migrants housed at the shelter in Mexico City, Mexico. They are requesting the immediate application of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which commits States, among other things, to “improve cooperation in saving migrants' lives during their travels." In practical terms, this committment would best be fulfilled by guaranteeing buses so that we arrive safely to our final destination, thereby protecting women and children, who have to endure lower and lower temperatures, amongst other threats to their lives.

On November 8th, our delegation left on foot from the shelter in Mexico City, Mexico, accompanied by a mobilization of more than a thousand migrants that culminated at the office of the United Nations, where a meeting was held. In attendance were authorities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, and our commission comprised of 21 delegates from the migrant exodus: representatives from 17 of the 18 Honduran Departments, 1 delegate from the “19th Department” (Hondurans residing in the US), 3 representatives per Central American country (Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala), an observer from the organization Pueblos Sin Fronteras, a Human Rights observer, Mr.  Arturo Peimberg, Ombudsman from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, and a Honduran spokesperson, sociologist and journalist Milton Benitez.

WHEREAS:

  • The UN did not follow through in assuring a safe method of transportation to the final destination in order to “save the lives of migrants.”
  • The Commission on Human Rights in Mexico City has confirmed the disappearance of at least 100 people in Mexican territory.
  • There have been at least 3 Honduran deaths during the trip.
  • There are 24 pregnant women, 184 people with disabilities, 31 unaccompanied minors, 87 people from the LGBTQI community, and more than two thousand children travelling in the caravan.
  • There are now two victims of legal persecution and threats: Honduran journalists and a human rights defenders Bartolo Fuentes and Milton Benitez.
  • That this HUMANITARIAN CRISIS stems from factors outside of the control of citizens, namely the inability of the expelling States to protect the lives of their citizens, given that Honduras is one of the most violent and corrupt countries in the world and the poorest in Latin America.
  • That the United Nations and in particular United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have not lived up to their responsabilities and mandates by raising our exodus to the status of HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, as has taken place in relation to other countries such as Venezuela and Iraq. 


WE ASK THE UNITED NATIONS AND STATES AROUND THE WORLD:

  • That our exodus be recognized for exactly what it is - a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, so that a means of humanitarian intervention can be immediately established in order to guarantee the integrity, health and lives of those of us moving through Mexican territory. 
  • That, consequently, the UN, the UNHCR and the IOM, imediately apply the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration approved on March 13th, 2018, so that governments assume responsibility for the situation of people in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance. 
  • That, as has happened in other cases, the UNHCR encourage States to guarantee that we have free access to the territories and processes wherin our status as refugees can be determined, and ask the governments to adopt practical responses to protect us, such as offering legal status via temporary visas or residency permits as well as programs for normalizing status that guarantee access to the basic rights to healthcare, education, keeping families together, freedom of movement, shelter and the right to a job. 
  • That the UN encourage the signatory countries to make costs and requirements flexible as needed in order to guarantee access to the aforementioned rights. 
  • That, in light of the situation in the Central American and Latin American expelling states, the people not be deported or forced to return.

Let us remember that the first Global Compact for Migration, adopted in the United Nations, “the shared understanding by Governments that cross-border migration is, by its very nature, an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all,” as UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres has stated.

We inform the national and international community that, in the case that the UN, the UNHCR and the IOM continue to reduce the magnitude of the Central American diaspora by not treating it as a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, we would find ourselves unable to recognize and forced to reject any accompaniment coming from these institutions, due to their doube standard.

We thank Mrs. Nashieli Ramírez Hernández, President of the Human Rights Commission in Mexico City and the team of civil society organiations led by Father Alejandro Solalinde; for the timely reception they organized for us to be able to heal and rest in that city, along with Mr. Arturo Peimberg, Ombudsman of the State of Oaxaca and our fellow compatriot Milton Benítez who we have embraced as our Human Rights defenders in Mexican territory and in the world.

To conclude, we want to thank the local authorities who acted with solidarity and without discrimination, and especially thank the community members, our Guatemalan and Mexican sisters and brothers who have offered us food, water, shelter and dignified treatment, supplanting the work that should be carried out by institutions and governments.

Written in the city of Guadalajara, State of Jalisco, Republic of Mexico, on the 12th day of the month of November in the year of 2018.

CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRANT EXODUS FOR LIFE
On the path… with dignity!

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