Position of the La Via Campesina in Honduras against the increasing criminalisation of the peasant and indigenous social struggle

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Comunicado_Honduras_2.jpg(Comayagua, March 16th, 2016) We, the organisations belonging to La Via Campesina Honduras – The National Office of Rural Workers (CNTC); The National Association of Honduran Peasants (ANACH); The Council for the Integral Development of Women Peasants (CODIMCA); The National Peasant, Indigenous, and Afro-descendant Youth Front (FRENAJUC); and the regional representatives of the Association for the Development of Honduras (ADROH) from Gracias, Lempira; Opatoro and Márcala, La Paz; Colomoncagua, and Intibucá, meeting together in the municipality of Siguatepeque, Comayagua – responding to the very serious social and political crisis affecting women and men peasants, indigenous people, the Garifuna people, and the popular movement throughout the country, strongly condemn:

1. The state policy of neglecting and fragmenting small-scale peasant production.

2. The extreme poverty in rural areas (more than 3 million peasants are suffering from hunger) with poverty levels as high as 70% of the population, of whom 54% are in extreme poverty.

3. The violent evictions taking place on orders of the Courts and the National Police and serving the interests of the power elite and landowners.

4. The imprisonment of more than 5,000 peasants, including 1,700 peasant women, and the assassination of over 140 women and men peasants in conflicts involving land tenure or the defence of territory.

5. The new Criminal Code bill, which we strongly oppose – both because the peasant movement was not consulted and it criminalises the peasant struggle for land as well as all social movement demands.

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“We are under an institutional dictatorship in Honduras”

Real World Radio: Interview with COPINH leader in light of another murder of a member of the organization

2016-03-18-COPINH.jpgThe situation in Honduras is of complete alert. The outrageous and still unpunished murder of Berta Cáceres seems to have intensified the violence and persecution against social activists, indigenous people and peasants in a country whose people continues to be under attack since the Coup d´Etat of 2009. Yesterday, after a violent eviction in Rio Chiquito municipality, Cortés department, the member of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) Nelson García was shot and murdered when returning to the place where he was staying.

(March 16, 2016) Through an excessive use of force including Police officers, the Army, the Anti-Riot Police and the Intelligence and Security Special Response Group Troops (TIGRES), 150 peasant and indigenous families were evicted from the lands they were inhabiting and cultivating their food on for over 10 years. “During the eviction they destroyed bean, maize, yucca, banana crops, as well as their houses”, said Tomas Gomez, member of COPINH. He also said that the families have been left “totally unprotected”.

The community was processing the community titles over the lands before the National Agrarian Institute (INA), but Rio Lindo´s Mayor, through font men, has bought the lands illegally, denounced COPINH. According to the movement, the interests in this region are related to the increase of hydroelectric power generation potential.

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International Condemnation: Honduras - End the violence and death against the peasant-indigenous movement

IMPUNITY.jpg(Managua, 16 March 2016) La Vía Campesina denounces the grave criminalization taking place in Honduras today in the form of prisons, repression and the assassination of peasant and indigenous leaders. In the last few weeks the situation has worsened greatly with the proliferation of hired assassins aiming to take the lives of those who demand land to produce food, of those who struggle against extractivism, dams, and agribusiness.

Yesterday, March 15th, several regrettable events took place which we summarize below. All require the urgent attention and action of our organizations, allies and human rights entities:

1. Assassination attempt on Cristian Alegría, cousin of Rafael Alegría, lawmaker for the Libre Party and Coordinator of La Vía Campesina Honduras. This attack ocurred in front of La Vía Campesina offices located at Colonia Alameda, Tegucigalpa. 

2. Assassination of Nelson García, member of COPINH and community leader in Río Chiquito. This tragic event took place during the forced eviction of the Río Lindo community, in department of Cortés, when an estimated 100 police officers, 20 members of the military police, 10 members of the Army, and various members of DGIC invaded the territory previously recovered by 150 families, 75 of which had built homes in the area with materials and efforts they worked hard to obtain.

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Assassination of our sister in struggle: Berta Cáceres

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2016-03-04-Bertha_Caceres.jpegStatement and call to action from La Via Campesina

The international peasant movement La Via Campesina denounces to the national and international public that on this day, 3 March 2016 in the early hours of dawn, our dear sister in struggle, BERTA CÁCERES, General Coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) was assassinated.

The assassination of BERTA CÁCERES took place in her home, while she was resting, which drastically increases the risk to women and men defenders, to the indigenous peoples who resist in communities, and to members of popular and social movement organizations who have taken up our legitimate struggle.

On numerous occasions, BERTA CÁCERES had publicly denounced ill-intentioned actions and threats both by the current government regarding concessions of natural resources, and by the foreign transnational corporations involved in the construction of dams and the  capture of resources that belong to indigenous peoples.

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