Honduras – More repression against Garifuna people

Honduras – More repression against Garifuna people

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John Ahni Schertow
April 29, 2007
 

The following is some news, as sent out by www.rightsaction.org

AMBUSH OF GARIFUNA YOUTH FROM COMMUNITY OF SAN JUAN TELA

This past April 14 in the entry to the community of San Juan Tela, Durugubuti, young women, Keydi Jorleny Marin, Yerli Isolina Ellis, Yanaira Briyed Lambert, Eusebia Guillen, Joselyn Lizet Rivas were ambushed. The last mentioned is the daughter Jessica Garcia, President of the Patronata (development committee) of the community of Durugubuti, who has been constantly threatened for her position in the defense of her community’s territory.

According to the Preventative Police report relating to the incident, the situation was classified as an attempted homicide, in which various hit men who fired on the vehicle (taxi) in which the five young women traveled to their community.

TOURISM DOLLARS versus INDIGENOUS TERRITORIES

The community of San Juan Tela has been struggling during the last decade to protect their ancestral territory. Their territory is desired by members of the powerful national elite (backed by international tourism investors) who have used tactics from divisionism to direct threats and attacks, to the degree that the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) has granted protective measures registered (case 624-06), with the objective of protecting the lives and integrity of members of the Patronato and the Committee in Defense of Land, in addition to protection and respect for the property rights of the ancestral lands of the community.

In spite of these measures, the repression against community leaders has continued.

Last Saturday a group of minors were attacked. This attack occurred two days alter the ‘festivities’ commemorating the arrival of our people in 1798 to the coast of Central America, reinforcing the attacks and insecurity that our people survive, and the pretensions of members of the national oligarchy connected to the actual government of Manuel Zelaya.

For OFRANEH, the lamentable events demonstrate the insecurity that effects the country, where an abhorrent politicization of the judicial power and a tremendous inoperability of the justice providers who submit themselves to the designs of the groups of economically powerful who impose their projects over the wellbeing of the Honduran people.

OFRANEH urges the exhaustive investigation of the attack that occurred last Saturday against Garifuna youth, at the same time we request the application of the law to the military involved in the assassinations of the two youth from San Juan Tela, (Epson Andrés Castillo y Gino Eligio López), massacred on February 26, 2006 near Laguna Negra. In this case liberty was granted to the officials involved in the executions using a mechanism in which the end is no more then a mockery of justice and of the Garifuna people.

The acts that occurred last Saturday are another sign of how our people, alter 210 years in Honduras, continue to be considered foreigners without rights. It is a warning of the contempt that exists against us despite the Fact that some Garifuna continue to dance to the beat of the music imposed by the powerful elite and the international financing agencies.

Lilian Carol Rivas
Coordinator of Communication, OFRANEH
La Ceiba, Atlántida

For more information on the struggles of the Garifuna, see here

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