Climate Connections has recently posted two articles from our friend and collaborator, Aryeh Shell, on the ongoing violence in the Bajo Aguan region of Honduras, and on protests against a proposed law that would vastly expand destructive mining throughout Honduras. For those interested in supporting the struggle for human rights in Honduras, we send this announcement of an upcoming gathering there. – the GJEP team
International Gathering for Human Rights in Solidarity with Honduras, February 17-20th, 2012
According to a report presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on October 24, 2011, 42 peasant farmers have been murdered since January 2010 by the private guards of landowner Miguel Facussé and of the Honduran military, the latter of which is a longstanding and ongoing recipient of support, financing and training from the United States government. Despite the findings of the report, the security and human rights situation in the Aguán has continued to worsen and the number of assassinations has risen to 55. There is a systematic pattern of arbitrary detentions, sexual violence, torture, forced displacements, disappearances, targeted killings and constant death threats.
In the face of this repression, the campesino movement in the Bajo Aguán is occupying their land and reclaiming their right to food sovereignty and integral agrarian reform. They are demanding an end to the militarization of region, land titles, and access to housing, health and education.
Since the Honduran coup regime, the US government or the United Nations have not taken appropriate action to ensure the safety of Honduran citizens based on international human rights treaties and norms, the campesino movement has decided to take matters into their own hands. Along with the solidarity of the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (OFRANEH), the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the National Front for Popular Resistance (FNRP), the Committee of Popular Organizations of Aguán (COPA) and other local organizations, they inaugurated the Permanent Human Rights Observatory in the Bajo Aguán in November 2011.
The Observatory currently exists as an empty building without computers, phones or other equipment. Thirteen coordinating committees have been established with representation from each campesino cooperative. The Observatory intends to activate a national and international solidarity network that will mobilize immediate action whenever an eviction or repression is taking place. Their dream is to staff the Observatory with an administrator, lawyers, field researchers and ongoing international accompaniment delegations in order to document, denounce and diminish the abuses.
Preparations are currently taking place for an international inauguration of the Observatory on February 17-20th, 2012. Nearly 800 participants are anticipated to arrive from all over the world. Argentine Nobel Peace Laureate, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel is confirmed to be present and invitations have been sent to other Latin American Nobel Peace Prize winners, along with international artists, human rights workers, social movement leaders, media outlets and NGOs. Internationally renowned hip-hop group, Calle 13, is tentatively scheduled to give a concert in Tocoa Park.
The International Gathering for Human Rights in Solidarity with Honduras plans to organize national and international Solidarity Brigades and has proposed to address the following:
- Making it understood that the Coup d’état of Honduras continues, in terms of the government institutions, the impunity and the deepening of state violence against the people.
- Strengthening the ties of solidarity among the peoples’ struggles of the world, by means of common actions to confront the grave situation of human rights violations in Honduras.
- To spotlight and denounce the situation of human rights violations in Honduras and especially in Bajo Aguan.
- To understand the links between militarization, transnational corporate domination, the struggle for land and human rights violations in the region and in the country.
An official call has gone out to solidarity activists to join this groundbreaking event. Wilfredo Paz, the coordinator of the Permanent Human Rights Observatory, explained that while everything is currently run by the volunteer efforts of community leaders, he hopes the gathering will lay the foundation for a permanent and sustainable presence in the Aguán.
If you are interested in attending the event, supporting the Human Rights Observatory, or participating in a Solidarity Brigade, please contact: