PROAH expresses deep concern for the lives of 7 members of the Tribe of San Francisco de Locomapa who joined the hunger strike in Tegucigalpa, and for the situation of impunity and extreme violations of human rights in the community of Locomapa, Yoro.
On June 30, seven members of the San Francisco Locomapa tribe decided to join the hunger strike in front of the Casa Presidencial in Tegucigalpa, demanding an end to impunity in the country, in the department of Yoro, and the installation of an International Commission Against Impunity in Honduras (CICIH.)
The seven Tolupanes participating in the hunger strike were issued protective measures by the Inter American Commission for Human Rights in December of 2013. These measures were issued following the triple murder, on August 25, 2013, of three members of the community who opposed illegal logging. The IACHR requested the state of Honduras to protect 18 members of the community and their family members, a total of 38 people at high risk.
Since August 2013, seven members of the community have been murdered, including five people struggling to protect land and natural resources in opposition to the illegal mining of antimony and logging of communal lands. The most recent murder of land rights defender, Erasio Vieda Ponce, occurred on June 18, 2015 in the community of Las Brisas Locomapa.
Witnesses state that the murders of five land rights defenders were committed by men belonging to a group that works for the mine and powerful business elites in the region. Arrest warrants were issued for two of the men following the triple murder on August 25, 2013.
Despite numerous complaints presented to judicial authorities and the International Commission for Human Rights, the situation of impunity and high degree of vulnerability of the community continues. The alleged perpetrators of the murders and other members of the group enter and exit the zone freely, threatening and harassing those who oppose mining and keeping the community in a state of terror. All of those working to defend land rights and natural resources live in a situation of extreme insecurity.
At least 11 community leaders have received death threats and 13 have been murdered in the last decades. Another actor who harasses the community is Finlander Uclés, a retired general who claims rights to community lands. Recently, Mr. Finlander issued death threats against two members of the community, who are also members of MADJ and beneficiaries of IACHR protective measures The police and authorities responsible for investigating the crimes, capturing the suspected murderers and protecting the population, consistently cite material difficulties as obstacles to their work. For the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ), which provides legal support for the community land rights defenders, ongoing impunity is due to lack of will on the part of the state of Honduras.
NEW THREATS TO HUNGER STRIKERS
The Tolupanes on hunger strike and their families are currently in even greater danger. Since beginning the hunger strike, different people are patrolling around their homes, family members receive harrassing telephone calls, even death threats. Hunger striker Sergio Ávila denounced that on July 8, unknown armed actors yelled at his son, «Get off that horse or we are going to kill you too. » They began to struggle and finally his son threw himself from the horse and ran away. The armed men then killed his horse.
In response to this alarming situation, the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice, which provides legal support for the Tolupanes, requests the international community to register concern with the Honduran authorities, urging them to :
– Immediately adopt the necessary measures to arrest those responsible for the murders and harassment in Locomapa; process them in the appropriate, independent and impartial court and apply sanctions according to the law.
– Conduct an immediate and exhaustive investigation to clarify the reported crimes and present a detailed report.
– Implement, in a timely and effective manner, all of the protective measures necessary to end all forms of harassment and acts of violence against the Tolupanes de Locomapa.
PLEASE SEND CONCERNS TO :
Óscar Fernando Chinchilla
and Assistant to the Attorney General Rigoberto Cuellar
Tel : 504- 2221-3099
Tel : 504 -2221-5670
Fax :504- 2221-5667
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook.com/Ministerio Publico Honduras
www.mp.hn (seccion contactenos)
Fiscalia for Ethnic Groups and Cultural Patrimony
Yany del Cid
Tel : 504-2221-5620
Email : email@example.com
National Human Rights Commissioner
Roberto Herrera Cáceres
Telefax : 504 2231-0204/0882
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
President of the Supreme Court of Justice
Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés
Email : email@example.com
Secretary of Security
Attorney Sagrario Prudott (Department of Human Rights)
Tel : 504-3152-8878
President of the Federation of Xicaques Tribes of Yoro, FETRIXI
Noe Rodriquez, Tel : 00504-9924-7948
For more information regarding this urgent action, please contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the human rights situation in Locomapa :
See PROAH’s blog: https://hondurasaccompanimentproject.wordpress.com/tag/locomapa/
Cultural Survival piece by Jim Phillips: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/tolupanes-put-their-lives-line-defending-all-hondurans