National Women Defenders Statement on UNAH’s rejection of Miriam Miranda as mediator in Student conflict

July 12, 2016 – In response to a new arbitrary action taken by the authorities of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, UNAH, who have rejected a dialogue proposal made by students grouped in the University Student Movement (MEU), we, as a human rights organization that has kept track of a long list of rights violations including evictions, arrests, excessive use of force and arrest warrants, have issued the following statement:

1. The National Women Human Rights Defenders Network in Honduras considers the university authorities’ rejection of our comrade Miriam Miranda, Coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH, proposed by the MEU to be part of a mediation committee at a dialogue table, as an effort to block honest intentions to overcome the crisis and immediately begin to deal with the main problem at hand.

2. We think that statements made by these authorities reveal a classist, racist, colonialist and misogyonous outlook that underlies their dictatorial power. It is a mistake not to recognize the validity of the political contribution reflected in the voices of the indigenous peoples represented by Miriam Miranda and in the wealth of their experience in the construction of multiculturality, particularly necessary in a country where it is denied by longstanding policies. All of this reveals an administration incapable of protecting this wisdom that is a national treasure, as it rules with ineptitude and a closed mind.

3. Miriam Miranda is a comrade who has demonstrated her commitment to humanity for many years and with whom we share a particular piece of land. Downgrading her opinion publicly is another act that violates her freedom of expression and discourages the participation of women, which is so necessary in a patriarchal society that, for centúries, has denied women the right to speak and participate in a solution to conflicts in Honduran society.

4. We reiterate our profund respect for our comrade Miriam Miranda; and recognize in her, the voices that people in power may not want to hear, due to the ethical position and commitment reflected in her actions and overt struggles against the plunder of neocolonial, extractivist capitaism, which has tried to negate her existence as part of an original people.

5. We applaud the multiculturality of the indigenous peoples, the strength of the spirituality they have shown, and their diversity of knowledge that transcends this academy, which stands in the way of moves toward times of autonomy, power and emancipation that both indigenous peoples and the student moviment are now rekindling with legitimate acts of territorial recuperation.

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