PBI-Honduras warns of repeated threats against Indigenous Tolupán leader Benedicto Hernández

Published by Brent Patterson on

“They harass, intimidate and threaten a social fighter who is a member of the Broad Movement in the Luquigüe tribe of the Tolupan people.”

On September 10, PBI-Honduras tweeted:

“At PBI we are concerned about the repeated threats against members of the Tolupán people, who carry out important work in defense of common goods in #Honduras.”

PBI-Honduras is amplifying this social media message from the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) that says:

“WE DEMAND FROM THE AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATE PROTECTION FOR OUR COMPANIONS IN THE LUQUIGÜE TRIBE. Our companion and general coordinator of the community center of the Luquigüe Tribe, Benedicto Hernández, is being harassed, threatened and intimidated in his Tribe.”

PBI-Honduras has previously explained: “The Tolupán people are one of the nine indigenous peoples of Honduras, during their process of struggle against dispossession and looting they have been one of the most martyred, from 1990 to date approximately 120 of their members have been murdered, most of them linked to the defense of the territory. ”

Now Criterio.hn further explains:

The Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) denounced on Thursday that the coordinator of the community nucleus of the Tolupán de Luquigüe tribe, in the department of Yoro, Benedicto Hernández, is being harassed, threatened and intimidated.

The tribes of the Tolupán people in Honduras face structural challenges that include: illegal cutting of the forest, the delivery of management plans through supplementary titles, the absence of recognition of ancestral title, lack of access to basic rights such as health, food and education

The organization Peace Brigades International expressed concern about “the repeated threats against members of the Tolupán people, who carry out an important work of defense of the common goods in Honduras.”

The full article can be read at Denuncian amenazas contra integrante de tribu Tolupán de Luquigüe.

Tierra de Resistentes has also reported:

The Tolupan San Francisco de Locomapa Tribe, in Yoro, Honduras, has suffered murders, judicial harassment and attacks due to its opposition to power generation projects.

Within the best Honduran Pine forests and a land rich in minerals such as iron oxide, silver and antimony, over 40 murders have occurred in indigenous communities in the last 20 years, according to a report submitted by the Working Group on Mining and Human Rights in Latin America before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

In San Francisco de Locomapa, murders linked to the mining conflict started in 2013. From that moment, the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ, in Spanish) has recorded 10 murders not only linked to the wood conflict but also to an antimony mine.

And Front Line Defenders has reported:

On 25 August 2013, environmental and indigenous people’s rights defenders María Enriqueta Matute, Armando Fúnez Medina and Ricardo Soto were killed in the village of San Francisco de Locomapa (Yoro) in Honduras.

All three defenders belonged to tribes of the Tolupán indigenous people, who have faced centuries of discrimination and violence – from Spanish colonizers in the 1500s to mining companies in 2016. Before their assassination, María, Armando and Ricardo were peacefully protesting against a mining operation and the construction of a hydroelectric dam on their indigenous land.

Their killing followed years of threats and attacks by sicarios, people hired by mining companies, loggers and landowners to intimidate the local community.

We continue to follow the situation of the Tolupán peoples in Yoro.

On June 10, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “According to our worldview, our life depends on the forest and the land” We accompanied @Cehprodechn [the Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development] to a meeting with the coordination of the Tolupan people in Las Vegas de Tepemechín. The Tolupan people defend their identity which is rooted in their territory.”

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