PBI-Honduras accompanies Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) as Garifuna land defenders criminalized

Published by Brent Patterson on

On January 17, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project tweeted: “PBI accompanies @ofraneh in front of the Court of First Instance of Trujillo, Colón. At PBI, we are concerned about the constant criminalization of people from the Garífuna community in their legitimate defense of their ancestral lands.”

This past week, Criterio reported: “The coordinator of the Honduran Black Fraternal Organization (Ofraneh) Miriam Miranda, denounced the detention and torture against two defenders of the territory arrested yesterday, Thursday, January 13, in Trujillo and transferred to Tocoa, both municipalities of Colón, in northern Honduras.”

That article adds: “The names of the people arrested are Luis Gutiérrez and Leonard Brown, both members of the Garifuna community of Waba To, accused according to Miranda, for the crimes of usurpation and damages.”

WA-DANI further notes: “The Honduran justice system today [January 14] issued alternative measures to the defender of ancestral lands, Leonard Brown. This decision comes a day after he was arrested, without any crime.”

That article adds: “Leonard is a Garifuna who active in the defense of ancestral lands, but in the eyes of the Honduran justice, he is a usurper and invader which, of course, is a serious plot to affect the Garifuna population.”

It then comments: “Undoubtedly, in other countries people like him are given honors, in Honduras instead, they are persecuted and criminalized.”

Extractivism displaces Garifuna communities

Criterio has also reported: “In September of last year, the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras denounced the complicity of the Police Directorate of Investigation (DPI) and other state forces with extractive and landed companies that try to forcibly displace Garifuna communities.”

“This after members of the National Police and the DPI arrived in the area in patrols without plates with an eviction order against Antonia Portillo. The expulsion at that time was not carried out by the defense work of the board of directors of the Cristales and Río Negro neighborhood, and other defenders who are part of the recovery of the ancestral territory, reported the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders.”

The article also notes: “Tuesday, January 18, marks 18 months since the forced disappearance of the president of the Board of Trustees of the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz, Albert Snaider Centeno Thomas and with him three more young Garifuna from the same community (Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, Suamy Aparicio Mejía García and Gerardo Misael Tróchez Calix), without their whereabouts being known yet.”


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