PBI-Honduras accompanies CNTC at media conference where it makes five key demands

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On October 25, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted: “PBI accompanied the CNTC Tegucigalpa at a press conference calling for: repeal of ZEDEs, role for peasant people in agricultural regulations, fair trial for Victor Vásquez and Jose S. Vigil, freedom for Guapinol defenders, and prevent the use of the crime of forced displacement to continue criminalizing people defending land and territory.”

In brief:

1- Repeal of ZEDEs

PBI-Honduras has noted that the CNTC warns that the ZEDEs plan entails the privatization and sale of national territory and common and natural goods to foreign capital, which will hold complete autonomy in the administration of public services and the criminal justice system. They also refer to their social impacts (such as forced displacement and increased conflict), environmental impacts (such as deforestation and pollution), and economic impacts (such as increased poverty and the loss of livelihoods).

2- Role for peasant people in agricultural regulations

Franklin Almendares, the national coordinator of the CNTC, has lamented: “With the new food production law approved by the government through PCM-030-2020, businesspeople will be the ones in charge of food production, not small producers or peasant farmers.”

3- Fair trial for Victor Vásquez and Jose S. Vigil

PBI-Honduras has posted that land defenders Víctor Vásquez and José S. Vigil are accused of forced displacement. And Front Line Defenders has explained Vásquez has been repeatedly threatened for supporting local small farmers’ groups in La Paz in activities to recover land they consider has been illegally privatized by local authorities.

4- Freedom for Guapinol defenders

PBI-Honduras has posted that the defenders of Guapinol have been held in arbitrary preventive detention for two years for their peaceful participation in a protest camp intended to stop the Inversiones Los Pinares iron oxide mine polluting the water sources that originate in the Carlos Escaleras Mountain National Park.

5- Prevent the use of forced displacement to criminalize defenders

PBI-Honduras has expressed its concern about the increase in penalties for the crimes of usurpation and forced displacement in the Penal Code. It further noted that social organizations have denounced the improper use of these crimes to criminalize defenders.

PBI-Honduras began accompanying the National Union of Rural Workers (CNTC) in May 2018.

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