Thursday, May 12, 2016

Violent evictions today and campaign against international observers

May 11
The Human Rights Observation Mission spent most of the day traveling from the Aguan Valley back to Tegucigalpa where there will be a public forum on Thursday to discuss the Mission’s finding but we received news of more repression and new government attacks on human rights defenders and journalists.  

This morning, in Tutule, La Paz two campesinos from the campesino group 9th of July (9 de Julio) community were wounded when 12 police vehicles and 80 soldiers carried out a violent eviction, using bulldozers to destroy houses, crops  of fifty families who have lived and worked on the land for 7 years. The security forces fired live ammunition wounding Johnny Alfredo Mejia Torres and Edwin Murillo. At the same time  5 patrol cars arrived at the home of Wilman Chávez, General Secretary of the La Paz region of the Central Nacional de los Trabajadores del Campo (CNTC) to arrest him. 

Franklin Almendares
photo from conexihon
The National General Secretary of the CNTC, Franklin Almendares reported to the media that the men, women and children of the community were forced to run and attempt to hide in the mountains from the troops. He also reported that this eviction is to benefit a local political power, Carlos Arriaga. In a phone interview with Franklin Almendares  this evening he said that the two wounded men received treatment and will recover and that there is a court hearing tomorrow morning for those who were arrested. He called for human rights organizations both national and international to accompany the community and their organization. 

In Tegucigalpa, the General Secretary for the Administration of the Government, Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro held a press conference where he condemned international observers and press for “inciting violence” referring to the protests this week by COPINH that were repressed by the police. He said that he was instructing the Honduran immigration service to identify foreigners who are participating in the protests or inciting violence. At least one international observer, Giulia Fellin who has been accompanying COPINH was harassed and interfered with as she tried to go to her embassy today. Another National Party politician claimed that foreign journalists are inciting violence, creating images and causing problems for the government. With this the government continues the campaign of defamation against human rights defenders, journalists and international solidarity and opens the door to more repression against those groups as well as inciting violence against them. 

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