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Take action for Ana Mirian Romero

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Ana Mirian Romero is a prominent Honduran human rights defender.

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She is a member of Movimiento Indígena Lenca de La Paz Honduras – MILPAH (Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, Honduras) and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador (San Isidro Labrador Indigenous Council). The human rights defender has been fighting for the recognition of the land rights of indigenous communities since 2010, when MILPAH and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador filed an adjudication lawsuit for the recognition of their ancestral lands in the municipality. Ana Mirian Romero is a finalist for the 2016 annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, which honours the work of human rights defenders who, through non-violent work, courageously make an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of their communities, often at great personal risk.


Ana Mirian Romero is facing death threats.

Join Front Line Defender to send the letter below to the government of Honduras.

Mail:

Sr. Embajador Giampaolo Carmelo Rizzo Alvarado
Misión Permanente de Honduras ante las Naciones Unidas en Ginebra
Avenue de France 23
1202 Geneva
Suiza

Email: mission@hondurasginebra.ch

Fax: +41 22 710 07 66

See alert from Front Line Defenders


Sr. Embajador Giampaolo Carmelo Rizzo Alvarado

Your Excellency,

On 9 May 2016 Ms Ana Mirian Romero and her children received death threats and were intimidated by four men in their home in the municipality of Santa Elena, department of La Paz.

Ana Mirian Romero is a prominent Honduran human rights defender. She is a member of Movimiento Indígena Lenca de La Paz Honduras – MILPAH (Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, Honduras) and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador (San Isidro Labrador Indigenous Council). The human rights defender has been fighting for the recognition of the land rights of indigenous communities since 2010, when MILPAH and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador filed an adjudication lawsuit for the recognition of their ancestral lands in the municipality. Ana Mirian Romero is a finalist for the 2016 annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, which honours the work of human rights defenders who, through non-violent work, courageously make an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of their communities, often at great personal risk.

At approximately 4 pm four men from the Potrero community entered the human rights defender's home armed with machetes and a gun. The defender was in the presence of her children and they were threatened and intimidated by the intruders. Two of the men were identified by the defender, and had threatened her before. The harassment of Ana Mirian Romero followed a visit from a BBC Radio journalist and a Honduran journalist, earlier that day, who had been visiting her to record a radio documentary covering the story of the human rights defender.

The intimidation of and death threats against the human rights defender come several months after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued precautionary measures in favour of Ana Mirian Romero and her family, on 24 November 2015. The precautionary measures were also issued in favour of twelve other members of the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador and MILPAH.

The human rights defender had previously been subjected to acts of intimidation and assault. On 29 January 2016, an arson attack was carried out by unknown assailants at her home. On 2 November 2015, unidentified men fired over fifteen shots outside her home. This incident occurred on the same day that Ana Mirian Romero was discharged from hospital following a previous attack, which took place on 22 October 2015. That day, at approximately 4:30 am, Ana Mirian Romero's home was raided by police. A contingent of 30 officers entered the house using force and without displaying a warrant. During the incident, the police officers beat Ana Mirian Romero, who was 24 weeks pregnant. She was subsequently taken to the hospital in a serious  condition and faced a possible abortion as a result of the attack.

The attacks on Ana Mirian Romero have come in the context of intensifying risks faced by indigenous human rights defenders in the department of La Paz. On 20 December 2015, the body of Mr Javier Vásquez Benítez, the son of human rights defender and prominent indigenous leader Mr Gilberto Vásquez was found in a ravine in Santa Elena. In May 2015, the body of human rights defender Mr Silvestre Manueles Gómez was found, dismembered, on the bank of the river Chinacla, on the border of the departments of Intibucá and La Paz. In January 2015, human rights defender and MILPAH member Mr Juan Francisco Martinez was killed.

I strongly condemn the intimidation of, and the death threats received by, Ana Mirian Romero and her children in their home, the most recent in a serious of attacks and intimidatory acts perpetrated against human rights defenders and indigenous leaders in the department of La Paz and in Honduras, demonstrated internationally by the killing of Berta Cáceres. I believe these attacks to be directly linked to the legitimate and peaceful work of human rights defenders and indigenous leaders in the defence of human rights.

I urge the authorities in Honduras to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the intimidation and death threats against human rights defender Ana Mirian Romero and her family, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Ana Mirian Romero and her family members, including through the immediate implementation of the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Honduras are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Sincerely,

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