Grassroots International

Demand Protection of Honduran Communities

We have just received separate reports of violence against two of our Honduran partners and urgently need your support.

In the middle of the night on January 25 the office of La Via Campesina – Honduras was riddled with more than two dozen bullets. This attack brings to mind events from the 2009 coup d'etat when La Via Campesina’s office was attacked and no one was ever found responsible.

La Via Campesina believes they are being targeted in part because of their active participation against the military coup d'état in 2009, and their efforts to promote a bill for Integral Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty and Rural Development, with Gender Equality, presented to the Honduran Legislature in April 2014. Likewise, they believe that their opposition to changes in the Honduras Constitution that guarantee the continued existence of the Honduran “Military Police of Public Order,” which has been publicly linked with human rights violations, also makes them a target.

On January 26, in a separate act of aggression, over 40 Garifuna (Afro-descendent & indigenous) community members from our partner the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras were shot at by armed hit men in Nueva Armenia, Honduras, and one community member was wounded in the head and arm by bullets. Two years ago, Garifuna communities reclaimed their ancestral lands, and have faced multiple acts of violence over the past six months, including the burning of dozens of homes and destruction of their crops.

Since the military coup d’etat in 2009, the situation of human rights in Honduras has deteriorated to alarming levels. When you take action below with Grassroots International today, you can show Honduran officials that the whole world is watching, and that these human rights violations and acts of aggression will not be tolerated.


[ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF LETTER]

Since the 2009 coup d’etat the situation of human rights in Honduras has deteriorated to alarming levels. Recent acts of violence against La Via Campesina – Honduras and the Garifuna community of Nueva Armenia are examples of the struggles human rights defenders are facing. I am writing today to ask you to investigate these recent human rights violations and to demand the protections of human rights defenders.

In the middle of the night on January 25 the office of La Via Campesina – Honduras was riddled with more than two dozen bullets. This attack brings to mind events from the 2009 coup when La Via Campesina’s office was attacked and no one was ever found responsible. La Via Campesina believes they are being targeted in part because of their active participation against the military coup d'état in 2009, and their efforts to promote a bill for Integral Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty and Rural Development, with Gender Equality, presented to the Honduran Legislature in April 2014. Likewise, they believe that their opposition to changes in the Honduras Constitution that guarantee the continued existence of the Honduran “Military Police of Public Order,” which have been publicly linked with human rights violations, also makes them a target.

On January 26, in a separate act of aggression, over 40 Garifuna community members from the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras were shot at by armed hit men in Nueva Armenia and one community member was wounded in the head and arm by bullets. Two years ago, Garifuna communities reclaimed their ancestral lands, and have faced multiple acts of violence in the past six months, including the burning of dozens of homes and destruction of their crops.

I call on you to ensure that these human rights violations and acts of violence are thoroughly investigated and to identify and punish those responsible. I demand the protection of human rights defenders, including La Via Campesina leader Rafael Alegría and his family.  I also demand the immediate presence of government authorities in Nueva Armenia, to intervene and ensure the safe release of and medical care for the Garifuna communities who have been hurt and surrounded by gunmen there.

Thank you for your time. I hope you will take immediate action to ensure the safety of human rights defenders.

Sincerely,

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