PBI-Honduras observes march in Tegucigalpa demanding the return of four missing Garifuna land defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On July 20, PBI-Honduras posted on Facebook: “On the anniversary of the enforced disappearance of the four Garifuna defenders, we watch the campaign of OFRANEH [the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras] and the Committee of Inquiry and Search of the Missing from Triunfo de la Cruz (SUNLA).”

PBI-Honduras adds: “The Garifuna community is marching to demand justice and truth and that the Honduran government finds the whereabouts of Suamy Mejía, Milton Alvarez, Alberth Centeno and Gerardo Calix, who were taken by a group of armed men and in police uniform on July 18, 2020.”

Their post also quotes OFRANEH leader Miriam Miranda who has tweeted: “It’s 12 months of demand, 12 months of pain for families.”

In this feature interview, Miranda says:

“In Honduras there are systematic violations of the human rights of the Garífuna people and in the last decade they have intensified.”

“The State must accept, support and understand that SUNLA is a necessary space and that we have the right, as an Afro-indigenous people, to promote our own research. The states should allow organized sectors, social movements and, in this case, family members to participate to find out the truth.”

“The reports of the State of Honduras, in the face of requests for information by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Committee Against Forced Disappearance, are inconsistent, empty, and disrespectful. The State shows great contempt for the Garifuna people by responding with lies.”

“When we say ‘enough already!’ [in Garifuna, sunla] we are demanding that the genocide against the Garífuna people stop, that the criminalization and prosecution stop. Beyond the search for justice in this particular case, the essence of our committee is that there is no repetition, since there is a plan to end us in which the genocide of our people is posed.”

“The Garífuna people face problems similar to those of the rest of the indigenous peoples of the country. For example, extractive industry projects or the grabbing of ancestral lands; However, in addition, the Garífuna people, who are a people that settle in the coastal areas, face a situation of very serious vulnerability: the climate crisis is causing the sea to eat up the communities’ ground.”

“Another key issue that I want to mention is the massive production of biofuels from African palm. The production of this material is not only facilitating money laundering, but is also altering the country’s biodiversity to the detriment of food security. This industry harms life, nature and our health.”

“There [are also] the Zones of Employment and Economic Development (ZEDEs). These are areas of the national territory that by law become the jurisdiction of investors so that they can become tax havens and there is no institutional control. With this, the territories become spaces for the forced displacement of the communities; people are taken out in the name of development.”

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