PBI-Honduras accompanies National Union of Rural Workers (CNTC) and campesina community threatened by sugar company

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On December 21, PBI-Honduras posted:

We accompanied the campesina (peasant) base Agua Blanca Sur, affiliated with the @Cntc Progreso [National Union of Rural Workers], in a community meeting held at the Community Center. This one, like other campesina bases in Yoro Department, has suffered several evictions in recent months.

We express concern over the increase in evictions in the area and the complaint about non-compliance with the United Nations guidelines compiled in the document: ‘Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Generated Evacuations and Displacement’.

On December 13, the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras stated:

Almost a month after the first eviction and a wave of harassment, criminalization and surveillance against women defenders of the peasant group Agua Blanca Sur, on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, members of the National Police arrived with 30 patrol cars and 2 tanks to carry out an eviction in the community of Guanchías, El Progreso, in favor of the Azunosa Company.

This action was ordered by the El Progreso Regional Court of First Instance through an eviction order, notified by the executing judge, Diana Núñez, who only gave the families a period of thirty minutes to remove their belongings.

The National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras (RNDDH) denounces the serious situation faced by our comrades of the CNTC, in the face of this policy of dispossession, harassment and stigmatization against the peasant struggle.

We demand that the government stop the evictions against those who sow and harvest their rightful land. We alert the Honduran people and especially human rights organizations to continue to monitor the situation faced by human rights defenders in the country.

In November, the Network had also noted:

The peasant group Agua Blanca Sur, affiliated to the National Central of Rural Workers in the region of Progreso, has been carrying out a process of land recovery since January of this year in the sector of Guanchías, El Progreso.

For the past 3 months, its members have been harassed by members of the National Police who have arrived at the premises with threats of eviction, without a court order. They also denounced the presence of drones flying over the premises.

On 15 November, at 11 a.m. in Santa Rita, Yoro, agents of the National Police detained, without an arrest warrant, human rights defender Maribel Díaz García…

A few days later, the national police and security guards from the Azunosa company evicted the land, leaving the 60 families belonging to the Agua Blanca Sur peasant group homeless.

What is Azunosa?

Azucarera del Norte S.A. de C.V (Azunosa) is an Honduran agro-industrial company that produces and distributes sugar.

In April 2013, farmlandgrap.org noted:

“Azunosa is of the [British] transnational SABMiller, which has also a franchise to produce coca cola there. The company has been illegally occupying and exploiting these lands for sugar cane production for decades, having gone beyond legal ownership limits.”

In June 2023, Oaklins reported:

“Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (AB InBev) has sold its Honduran subsidiary Azucarera del Norte S.A. (AZUNOSA) to Grupo Luz y Fuerza S.A.S. (Lufussa). AZUNOSA is one of the largest sugar producers in Honduras, manufacturing close to 15% of the country’s production. …Lufussa is a group of companies operating in the Mesoamerican region in various business segments such as dairy industry, energy generation, agriculture, food and beverage, production and distribution of construction materials, real estate, pharmaceuticals and commercial retail outlets.”

We continue to follow this.

The CNTC, created in 1985, is a small-scale farming and trade union organisation, which fights for the distribution of land.

The CNTC is affiliated with the Unified Confederation of Honduran Workers (CUTH) which in turn is affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), along with 150+ labour organizations including the Canadian Labour Congress.

PBI-Honduras has been accompanying CNTC since May 2018.

PBI-Honduras has noted that it “is concerned about the criminalization and persecution of defenders of land and territory and the evictions of entire campesino communities. We highlight the work of campesinos in favor of food sovereignty and environmental protection. Likewise, we applaud the work of CNTC Progreso in the defense of human rights and land and territory.”

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