Stop The Use Of Force Against The Social Protest To Defend Land Rights In Honduras
Gathering voices together to stop the violence in Honduras, silence can be harmful.
Since the coup d’état in June 2009, the critical context of serious and systematic violations of human rights in Honduras has been widely documented by national and international organizations.The 2011 report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights included a chapter about the specific situation in Honduras because it was determined that it fits within the framing of serious and massive violations of human rights as guaranteed by the American Convention, the Inter-American Declaration and all other human rights instruments that are applicable to situations of the State that may be structural or time-specific and that for diverse reasons severely prevent the enjoyment of fundamental rights.
The continuous situation of violence and assassinations of human rights defenders are testimony to the structural state of impunity and the vulnerability of communities, human rights defenders, journalists and all others who demand justice, democracy and who confront the interests of power groups.
Within this context, we urgently call on the international community to denounce the worsening situation of generalized violence against communities and human rights defenders in Honduras, particularly against those who, within their rights to live without violence, defending rights to land, to the protection of natural resources, to freedom of expression and to social protest.
The State of Honduras has demonstrated a systematic policy to silence, through the use of force and criminalization, the legitimate claim of those who struggle for democracy, freedom of expression, land and natural resources. In most of these cases, the State prioritizes the interests of private enterprise and multinational corporations over the rights of the local population.
Peasant and indigenous communities are confronted daily with the arbitrary use of the State security forces, from the institutions that procure and impart justice; they face impunity in evictions, threats, defamation and assassinations of those who openly protect their land and territory, and who oppose megaprojects and model cities. These projects violate their right to consultation, threaten the cultural identity of their peoples, result in forced evictions and multiple forms of violence against its inhabitants.
Within this context, there is an increase in violence against women and women human rights defenders (WHRDs). Numerous cases of sexual violence have been documented during forced evictions, which is rarely reported for fear of retaliation and because of the rampant impunity in situations of violence against women throughout the country. The violence is more serious against WHRDs who also face public accusations that they are going against the traditional role assigned to women, are threatened – both with death and sexual violence, and are criminalized.
The recent acts of repression against the peasant farmers of Aguán, the threats of eviction and harassment against Garifuna communities to install model cities, and the creation of the “specialized” police forces like Los Tigres all demonstrate the Honduran State’s policy against community protest. This has been denounced by well-known human rights organizations like Committee of Families of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), the National Network of WHRDs, and the Women’s Movement for “Visitación Padilla”.
The Aguán peasant movement has been struggling for years against the grabbing of their lands, and they have suffered continuous violations to their human rights. Most recently on 21 and 22 August 2012, members of the peasant movement were protesting at the premises of the Supreme Court of Justice, and they were waiting for a hearing with the President of the Judicial Body in order to present their claims regarding land tenure in the lower Aguán. Those who were peacefully protesting were attacked by the police with tear gas and beaten with batons.
In the daily practice of criminalization of social protest, the police detained 2 women and 25 men with no explanation about the cause for detention and without telling them where they were being taken. The people detained were left without communication to the outside world and were threatened that they would be disappeared if they continued their protest. Additionally, orders of capture were drawn up for those who managed to escape detention. In the prison in Los Planes, more than 20 people have been imprisoned after participating in a public act to demand the liberation of their fellow activists.
In light of this alarming situation, it is the responsibility of international civil society and all governments to demand of the State of Honduras:
- The immediate release of all persons detained without charge and to the guarantee their physical and psychological safety
- That charges be brought against any act or omission of public officials that were responsible for the violations of the human rights of these activists
- Regulation at the state and municipal level of the use of public force as a tool to restrict the right to social protest, based on international human rights standards
- Guarantee of the right to freedom of expression in the legitimate exercise of social protest
- Eradication of all forms of violence against women in the affected communities and guarantee the safety of women human rights defenders. It is also the responsibility of all donor countries to suspend economic aid that may result in the strengthening of policies that are repressive and that violate human rights in Honduras.
Meso-American Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders
Steering group: UDEFEGUA, FCAM, JASS, AWID, Consorcio Oaxaca and Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local.
National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders of Honduras
National Network of Communications and Urgent Action on Women Human Rights Defenders in Mexico:
Agnieszka Raczynska, (secretaria ejecutiva de la Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos “Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos”), Alejandra Vela Garza (Alternativas Pacificas, Monterrey), Alicia Leal Puerta (Alternativas Pacíficas, DF), Aline Castellanos (Oaxaca), Ana Karen López Quintana (Tamaulipas Diversidad Vihda Trans, Tamaulipas), Ana María Hernández (Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca, Oaxaca), Analia Penchaszadeh (AWID), Alejandra Ancheita (Prodesc, DF), Alba Cruz (Oaxaca), Angélica Araceli Reveles (CLADEM-México), Beatriz Casas (Oaxaca), Beatriz Hernández Bautista (Circulo Profesional para la Formacion con Equidad de Género !Nduva Ndandi!), Blanca Martínez (Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos “Fray Juan de Larios”, Coahulia), Blanca Mesina (CMDPDH, Baja California Norte), Blanca Velázquez (Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador, Puebla), Carolina Cantu (Coordinadora Guerrerense de Mujeres Indigenas y afromexicanas, Guerrero), Cecilia Espinosa Martínez (Red Mesa de Mujeres de Cd. Juárez, Cd. Juárez), Cecilia Oyorzabal
Gómez (Timomatchtikan, Centro de Asesoría y Desarrollo entre Mujeres, Casa de la Mujer Indígena, Red Nacional de Asesoras y Promotoras Rurales, Puebla), Clara G. Meyra Segura (Defensora DH, Distrito Federal), Clemencia Correa (Consultora, DF), Cirenia Celestino Ortega (CIMAC,DF), Consuelo Morales (CADHAC, Nuevo León), Cristina Cruz López (Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos Bartolomé Carrasco “Barca”, Oaxaca), Cristina Hardága (Tlachinollan, Guerrero), Daptnhe Cuevas (Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad), Diana Damián (FOCA, Chiapas), Dolores González (SERAPAZ, DF), Dora Ávila (Centro para los derechos de la Mujer Nääxwiin), Edita Alavés (Mujeres Organizadas Yuubani, Oaxaca), Elga Aguilar (Comité Cerezo, DF), Emelia Ortiz (Campaña Si no están ellas no estamos todas, Oaxaca), Emilia González (Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa DDHH), Felicitas Martínez Solano (coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias policía comunitaria, Guerrero), Georgina Vargas Vera (CDH Victoria Diez, Guanajuato), Guadalupe López (Lesbianas en Patlatonalli, Jalisco), Ileana Espinoza (Red Mesa de Mujeres de Ciudad Juárez), Imelda Marrufo (Red Mesa de Mujeres de Cd. Juárez, Cd. Juárez), Irma Estrada Martínez (Tribunal Internacional de Conciencia, DF), Ixchel Carrasco Arias (Enlace Comunicación y Capacitación, Guerrero), Josefina Chávez (Cuadernos Feministas, DF), Laura Carlsen (Programa de las Américas, DF), Laura García (Semillas, DF), Laura Gutiérrez (Mujeres Unidas: Olympia de Gouges, Baja California), Laura Velázquez (JASS, DF), Leticia Burgos (Red Feminista Sonorense, Sonora), Lidia Alpizar (AWID), Lucia Lagunés Huerta (México), Lupita Ramos Ponce (CLADEM-México), Luz Estela Castro (Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, Chihuahua), Malú García Andrade (Defensora de Derechos Humanos,
Nuestras Hija de Regreso a Casa), Margarita Guadalupe Martínez (Chiapas), María Elena Tapia Vázquez (Código DH, Oaxaca), María Rosa Guzmán Valdez (Red de Promotoras de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres Indígenas en el Estado Jalisco, Jalisco), María Trinidad Ramírez (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra, Atenco), Martha Figueroa (Colem, Chiapas), Martha Graciela Ramos (Mujeres por México en Chihuahua, Chihuahua), Martha Pérez Pineda (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra, Atenco), Martha Sánchez Nestor (Red de Mujeres Guerrerenses), Marusia López (JASS-Mesoamérica), Minerva Nora Martínez (BARCA, Oaxaca), Montserrat Díaz (Colectivo Feminista de Xalapa, Veracruz), Nadia Altamirano (CIMAC, Oaxaca), Nadia Maciel (Guerrero), Nadin Reyes (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos - Desaparecidos “Hasta Encontrarlos”, DF), Nora Bucio (CIMAC, Morelos), Obtilia Eugenio Manuel (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa, Guerrero), Ofelia Cesáreo Sánchez (Coordinadora Guerrerense de
Mujeres Indígenas y Afromexicanas, Guerrero), Orfe Castillo (JASS-Mesoamérica), Sandra Peniche (Servicios Humanitarios en Salud Sexual y Reproductiva, Yucatán), Sara Méndez (Código DH, Oaxaca), Sandra Torres Pastrana (Red Defensoras México, Consorcio, Oaxaca), Silvia Castillo Salgado (Instituto Guerrerense de Derechos Humanos, Guerrero), Silvia Vázquez (CMDPDH, Baja California Norte), Tania Ramírez (HIJOS-México, DF), Teresa Emeterio Martínez (Oaxaca), Theres Hoechli (Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca, Oaxaca), Verónica
Corchado (Colectiva: arte, comunidad y equidad, Grupo Articulación Justicia en Juárez, Cd. Juárez), Verónica Cruz (Las Libres, Guanajuato), Ximena Andión (EQUIS: Justicia para las Mujeres), Ximena Cortez (Rosas Chillante, DF), Xóchitl Ramírez (Yotlakat Non Siwatl, Atzin Desarrollo Comunitario, Guerrero), Yanimiriam Valdez Baca (Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, Chihuahua), Yenis Bernardino Rosendo (Guerrero), Yesica Sánchez Maya (Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca, Oaxaca), Yunuhen Rangel Medina (Cimac, DF).
Report of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, 30th of December 2009 (published on 20th of January 2010), http://cidh.org/countryrep/Honduras09eng/Toc.htm
Report of the UNHCHR to the Human Rights Council, March 2010
Report of the Sub-Comittee for the Prevention of Torture, February 2010
Observation Mission for the Human Rights Situation in Honduras (FIDH, CEJIL, FIAN, PIDHDD, CIFCA and others): DE FACTO GOVERNMENT VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS IN HONDURAS, August 2009
Reporteros Sin Fronteras, Informe Mundial 2010, http://es.rsf.org/report-honduras,182.html
Violence against journalists: UN experts call upon Honduras to protect media staff , published 10th of May 2010, by Mr. Frank la Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on summary, extrajudicial or arbitrary executions; and Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
Informe de la Misión internacional de observación de la situación de derechos humanos en el Bajo Aguán. 26 febrero al 4 de marzo de 2011. APRODEV; CIFCA; FIAN; FIDH; Rel-UITA; Vía Campesina Internacional
Annual Report, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2011.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Spanish only)