Friday, April 19, 2019

Miriam Miranda and other OFRANEH leaders detained this morning in Saba, Colon


Miriam Miranda is one of the most well-known human rights defenders and organizers in Honduras. She is the leader of the Organización Fraterna Negra de Honduras (OFRANEH – the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras) and was a close friend and collaborator of assassinated indigenous leader Berta Cáceres. She has faced repeated death threats, criminalization, persecution, harassment and intimidation for her continued and fearless work in defense of the human rights of the Garífuna people. The Garífuna are descendants of marooned Africans and indigenous peoples and have resisted and resided on the Caribbean coast of Central America for close to 500 years. Their territory, culture and survival are under continued threat from national and transnational tourist corporations and developers who for years have been working to take over the entirety of the North coast of Honduras, the ancestral home of the Garífuna people. Under the present day illegitimate U.S.-backed regime of dictator Juan Orlando Hernández, whose brother is in a Miami prison facing charges as a top drug trafficker and whose 2017 election was denounced internationally as fraudulent and illegal, the threats and harassment against Miriam and other human rights defenders have intensified. We have translated the below statement from the Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras (National Network of Women Defending Human Rights in Honduras) denouncing the arbitrary and illegal detention this morning, April 19th, 2019 that was just the latest development in the ongoing persecution faced by Miriam and OFRANEH. We call on all people of conscience of the world to denounce this situation and continue to accompany Miriam, Aurelia, OFRANEH and the Honduran people in their struggle.


ALERT: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS MIRIAM MIRANDA AND AURELIA ARZÚ ARE DETAINED ONCE AGAIN IN SABÁ, COLÓN, HONDURAS
[Denuncia original]

 

Today, April 19th, at the Elixir community in Sabá, Colón, Honduras, the National Police and Military Police detained the vehicle in which human rights defenders Míriam Miranda and Aurelia Arzú were travelling as they were en route to attend to an emergency situation facing the Organización Fraterna Negra de Honduras (OFRANEH – the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras).

The police and military forces stopped their vehicle at 9am and held onto the personal documents of these human rights defenders and the OFRANEH team that was travelling with them.


Miriam and Aurelia state that they are still stopped after 45 minutes, waiting for contact with a prosecutor on call and they point out that no other vehicle travelling through the area has been stopped.
As the Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras (National Network of Women Defending Human Rights in Honduras) we are worried about Miriam Miranda being repeatedly stopped despite having been granted protective measures from the Mecanismo Nacional de Protección (National Protection Mechanism).

We call on the National Protection Mechanism to implement the protective measures that were granted to these human rights defenders.


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UPDATE: Miriam Miranda and Aurelia Arzú were finally released after being held up over an hour. They call on the national and international community to denounce the continued harassment, threats and persecution that they have faced as defenders of the Garífuna people and human rights in Honduras.
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What can I do?

 One of the most effective ways that people in the United States can show solidarity and hold the Honduran regime accountable for these ongoing human rights abuses is to pressure for an end to U.S. economic support of the Honduran security forces who continue to kill, harass and detain Honduran human rights defenders with impunity. Please call and write your representative to ask that they sign on to the Berta Caceres bill for Human Rights in Honduras.

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