Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Declaration by COPINH:Impunity and Human Rights Violations Reign in Honduras

Versión original en español

The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) makes the following declaration in view of the sistematic repression and human rights violations which have been manifested recently through the following condemnable acts:

1. The assasination of Nery Orellana, community broadcaster, manager of Joconguera Community Radio and correspondent with Radio Progreso, who was killed by multiple bullet wounds on Thursday, July 14th in the municipality of Cadelaria in the department of Lempira.

2. The assasination of our Luis Alonso Ortiz, president of the Marañones peasent cooperative, and Constantino Morales, director of the Isla I peasent cooperative. Both were leaders of the “Left Bank” (Margen Izquierda) of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan (MUCA), and these assasinations bring the total number of murders by hired criminals believed to be connected with business magnate Miguel Facusse and other large landowners in the region to 45.

3. Faced with constant death threats, citizens connected with the popular resistance movem

ent for the refoundation of Honduras continue to leave the country. This list now includes Father Fausto Milla and his assistant Denia Mejía.

4. The detention of Enrique Flores Lanza, former Minister of the Presidency under the constitutional government led by Manuel Zelaya Rosales, member of the Political Commission of the National Front of Popular Resistence (FNRP), and party to the Cartegena de Indias Accords. This is no less than “judicial work for hire” that reflects the political persecution carried out by t

hose behind the coup, who continue to control the powers of the state.

5. The detention of Carlos Amador, environmentalist and leader of the Siria Valley, who was freed, but along with many other leaders in the region who also oppose mining giant Entre Mares, has charges pending against him for opposing forestry exploitation that will further d

evastate life in that region of Honduras.

6. Impunity and injustice against Edwin Róbelo Espinal, victim of numerous detentions, threats and torture carried out by repressive state forces. Edwin remains in a state of defencelessness before the justice system along with its other victims.

7. New threats of community evictions and legal proceedings against dozens of peasents on the peninsula of Zacate Grande who are struggling to preserve the lands where they were born and continue to live.

8. The repeated deportation of catholic priest Andrés Tamayo, who has struggled for the defense of community forests in the department of Olancho and against the coup d’état.

9. The murder, under suspicious circumstances, of singer and popular movement activist Daniel González, better known as Jeronimo.

10. Concessions of natural resources of various indigenous communities in Honduras in the interest of the construction of hydroelectric dams, mineral exploitation, tourism investments, charter cities, forestry exploitation, privatization of forests for carbon capture (REDD) and the sale of oxygen, and other

capitalist projects. All this has been done without consultation, and with or without decree work is being carried out towards these ends, all in clear violation of Convention 169 of the ILO, the historic rights and autonomy of Indigenous Peoples, and various community and municipal agreements that express the clear rejection of these projects of domination and looting. We denounce that the responses of the community when faced with this have bee

n met with militarization, threats, arbitrary detentions and other persecution.

While the human rights violations and repression persist, those responsible for the coup d’état continue to calmly occupy their positions of power and enjoy the privileges of private security for themselves and their families, security which costs the state of Honduras millions of lempiras and includes designing strategies of persecution against victims.

COPINH denounces these acts and warns that the situation in Honduras is getting worse and there exists very real possibilities for it to culminate in further crimes – the political crisis is already at the point in which the President is denouncing death threats.

COPINH urges the international community to remain alert to the events in Honduras and to demand an end to the repression and human rights violations.

COPINH expresses its solidarity with all brothers and sisters who suffer repression as a result of their struggles and makes a call to the international community to strengthen its solidarity with the Honduran people.

COPINH holds the Organization of American States (OAS) responsible as an accomplice in human rights violations since the state of Honduras was reincorporated into its membership, despite not having demonstrated any advances in the defence of and respect for human rights and, on the contrary, continuing policies of repression.

Finally, COPINH makes a call for unity in the struggle of the Honduran people, so that we do not remain defenseless in the face of brutal repression and human rights violations.

Declared in La Esperanza, Intibucá on the 18th of July, 2011.

¡With the ancestral strength of Lempira, Iselaca, Mota and Etempic

a we raise our voices full of life, justice, liberty, dignity and Peace!

¡Lempira is not just a name, Lempira is an entire people!

Lempira lives and is with us until the end.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Update and Action for the Campesinos of Rigores, Aguan

Below is an update and action issued by Amnesty International in Canada for the community of Rigores in Agua (see earlier posts for more information). For readers in the U.S. we ask that you also contact your congressional representatives and protest the ongoing violent violation of human rights against the poor campesino communities in Honduras and ask that U.S. aid be cut off to Honduras because it is being used to committ violence against the people. In May of this year 87 members of Congress signed a letter calling for the cut off of military and police aid if human rights violations continue.

From Amnesty International - Canada

Police have forcibly evicted 114 families, including young children, from a community in northern Honduras. Around 80 people are now living in a nearby community centre in unsanitary conditions that pose a risk to their health.

Police forcibly evicted a community in the town of Rigores, in Colon department, on 24 June. An eviction order had been issued by a local judge. The community has lived on the land for many years, but a local landowner claims that he is the rightful owner of the land, and wants the community evicted. Local people say the police arrived with tractors and destroyed houses belonging to community members, as well as seven classrooms that form part of the local school and kindergarten and two churches. Some 493 people were made homeless.

The eviction order was issued on 23 May, but the community was not informed. The police arrived in Rigores at 10am on 24 June and told community members that they had two hours to pack up and leave. At around 2pm, the police began to destroy communal buildings, people's homes and their belongings. Nobody was offered alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, or compensation, either in advance of or since the eviction. Nor was anyone guaranteed safe access to tend their crops, many of which were destroyed during the eviction.

Around 80 people, mainly women and children, have taken shelter in the Rigores Community Centre, about 3 km away. The centre is not designed for people to live in. The building is overcrowded, and lets in rainwater, leaving half the building constantly wet. The centre has very few toilets and washing facilities. The community members, particularly young children, are at risk of disease. The community depends on the land from which they were evicted in Rigores for their survival. Honduras is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which obliges it to ensure that evictions do "not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights."


* Urge the authorities to do everything necessary to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the families whose homes and crops were destroyed and who were evicted from their land in Rigores on 24 June.

* Urge them to uphold these people's right to adequate housing, and provide them with suitable and safe accommodation until the land dispute is resolved, as well as food, water, access to medical attention and education.

* Demand that no further evictions take place without due process, adequate notice and consultation, and without the provision of adequate compensation.

* Urge the authorities to investigate fully the actions of those who carried out and ordered the forced eviction on 24 June, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice.


Director of the National Agrarian Institute:

Lic. Cesar David Adolfo Ham Peña

Ministro Director del Instituto Nacional Agrário

Colonia La Alameda, 4ta Avenida entre 10ma. y 11va calles, No. 1009

Tegugicalpa, Honduras

Fax: 011 504 2239 7398

Salutation: Dear Minister Director / Estimado Ministro Director

with copies to:

Minister for Justice and Human Rights:

Ana Pineda

Ministra de Justicia y Derechos Humanos

Casa Presidencial

Boulevard Juan Pablo Segundo

Palacio José Cecilio del Valle

Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., Honduras

Fax: 011 504 2290 5129

Attorney General:

Sr. Luis Alberto Rubí

Fiscal General de la República

Lomas del Guijarro

Avenida República Dominicana, Edificio Lomas Plaza II

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Fax: 011 504 2221 5667


Honduras is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which obliges it to ensure that "Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available."

Under the ICESCR, Honduras is obliged to guarantee respect for "the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food". The Honduran state also has an obligation to consult with those affected by forced evictions and to provide "adequate and reasonable notice for all affected persons prior to the scheduled date of eviction".

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Rigores peasant movement suffers violent eviction

Sábado 02 de Julio de 2011 10:59 Red Morazanica de Informacion

"The soldiers came with an eviction order saying we had weapons"

Saturday July 2, 2011. On Friday June 24 the judge of letters from the city of Tocoa, Josue Mejia Pagoada issued an eviction order addressed for Rigores Peasant Movement in Lower Aguan. When it took place hours later, 114 houses were demolished (valued at 14,000 Lempiras each). The security forces that implemented the eviction also destroyed six school classrooms, three churches, three broiler projects, a community center as well as several other productive facilities for the next harvest crops, all with backhoe. A tractor was confiscated. The children will lose another school year due to the destruction of schools and the trauma that an eviction means to them.

Twelve groups members were taken to Tocoa and later released, while several women aborted during the evacuation, which lasted between 12 noon to 9 pm. There are 13 other farmers with arrest warrants, while solidarity networks announce that on Friday July 1st two members were arrested. Carlos Sandoval is still detained and the authorities give no information on why this is happening “At 7pm, Rigores was attacked with firearms by police forces, and 2 more campesinos were forcibly disappeared” said Chuck Kaufman.

The land was recuperated by Rigores Peasant Group in 2001, around 500 people lives in the place, who are now sleeping in friends' homes and survive with the help of the community as representatives of the group reported.

The military and the police arrived, "heavily armed, threatening and intimidating the dignity of campesinos" said a group member.

The group has suffered 5 evictions over 11 years, the latter performed by Judge Ever Isael Lopez Oseguera in a demand caused by Erick Rivera, who alleges ownership of the land that while "uncultivated" were recuperated by the group according to the Honduran law.

In a Communiqué the farmers, mostly members of the CNTC, called for national and international community to speak out in solidarity.
This alert (below) was issued on Thursday, June 30 by a delegation from Alliance for Global Justice and Rights Action that is traveling in Aguan as human rights observers. As of the evening of July 2nd, the campesino, Carlos Sandoval from Los Rigores remains detained and the two disappeared have not been located.
>>>> Today around 11am Mountain Time, 2 campesinos in the Aguan were detained without charge from the community of Rigores, which has been increasingly under attack by large landowners in the region since the 2009 coup. At 7pm, Rigores was attacked with firearms by police forces, and 2 more campesinos were forcibly disappeared. The Alliance for Global Justice received news that a violent eviction is to take place at 6am tomorrow Friday, and will be on site to observe and accompany the campesinos of Rigores. While one of the detainees has been released, Spanish-speaker callers are urgently needed on behalf of the remaining detainee, Carlos Sandoval. Please call the Tocoa Police Station to demand assurance of his personal safety and inquire about the location and identities of the 2 disappeared persons.
Please call both numbers immediately:
Tocoa Police Station: 011 504 2444 3105
Investigation Office: 011 504 2444 2490
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