HONDURAS / Pronouncement of National Defender Network: Justice for Margarita Murillo and Macarena Valdés

National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras – The month of August is a very important month for indigenous and campesina women who work the land. It is harvest time of the basic grains, of corn and beans, which are central to our food culture. It is also a month when we are visited by the rains that nourish the land and help to prepare for a new planting season.

Land is a core element of life and its continuity. Our compañeras Margarita Murillo and Macarena Valdés knew that very well. That’s why both of them defended their communities against the expropriation by landholders and projects of national and multinational corporations dedicated to their own enrichment, with no concern for the ever extensive plunder and contamination of the land, forests and rivers.

Margarita Murillo was working the communal land of a campesino group on August 27, 2014, when she was assassinated. Four years after her death, the Honduran government has given no signs of seeing that justice is done. She had formerly been pursued, kidnapped, and tortured in order to force her to renounce the struggle of campesina women for land.

The same situation of injustice and impunity is seen in the assassination of Macarena Valdés, a leader of Mapuche resistance in the Tranguil community that has been invaded by the Austrian hydroelectric plant RP Global, in alliance with the Chilean Austral Electricity Company –SAESA. She was killed on August 22, 2016, when she was getting ready to take one of her children to school.

With regards to both murders and prevailing impunity in the criminal justice systems of the Honduran and Chilean governments, we denounce the following:

There are increasingly more assassinations committed with patriarchal cruelty against defenders of the land. Thus, we speak of territorial femicides and corporate femicides.

We say to the capitalist, patriarchal, dictatorial States that the assassinations of our comrades will not be relegated to impunity or oblivion, and that we are going to keep on denouncing their crimes.

We of the National Women Defender Network have memory, and continue to demand justice for our comrades Margarita Murillo and Macarena Valdés as we build bridges across colonial borders. We name them as being present in our struggles, honor their memory, write their names and sow the seeds of their words in resistance against the patriarchy, capitalism and dictatorships.

Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., August 27, 2018

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