[WHRD Alert] HONDURAS / Attacks and harassment intensify against Garifuna community Triunfo de la Cruz

During the first week of March, new attacks and forms of harassment have been reported against Triunfo de la Cruz, the Garifuna community on Tela Bay in the administrative division of Atlántida. For many years, the community has been exercising its legitimate right to recover their ancestral lands seized from it long ago and continues to insist that the Honduran government comply with the sentence issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in 2015, which recognizes this right and obliges the government to guarantee it. 

According to a denunciation by the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders, last March 6th an illegal eviction attempt was made by police agents and groups of armed persons against members of the community participating in the land recovery of  Wani Le. Three days later, on Saturday March 9th, members of the Committee for Defense of the Lands, the Community Board of Triunfo de la Cruz, and the Commission for Compliance of the Court Sentence held a peaceful protest to highlight the situation of violence they are facing and to denounce non-compliance with the IACHR sentence. They were subjected to an attempt to run over them with a vehicle and several other acts of intimidation.  Photographs and videos of them were taken  by armed men in two vehicles who were accompanied by the owners of the Black Rose Tourist Complex, one of the corporations that is usurping Garifuna lands. 

The struggle of the Triunfo de la Cruz community is emblematic of the struggles of the Garifuna people for their legitimate right to the land and their right to live according to their ancestral worldview. Consequently, they have been systematically subjected to persecution, harassment, and attacks. It is important to remember that ever since July of 2020, four young members of the community, including the President of the Board, Sneider Centeno, have been in a situation of forced disappearance after being kidnapped by individuals dressed in uniforms of the State Security Forces. 

This context of persecution, violence, and plunder is experienced by the entire Garifuna people, and specifically by the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras  (OFRANEH), its members and its leadership. Data from the Registry of the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras, presented in its recent document “Rebellious and Persistent, Report on the reality of women defenders in Honduras 2023”, points out that this organization was the most heavily attacked in the country in 2023, continuing the systematic pattern of aggression identified in previous years. The current government has adopted no measures whatsoever for putting an end to the imposition of the capitalist and racist model in the Garifuna territory that continues to do severe damage to the communities and the environment. 

We of IM-Defensoras and the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras reiterate our demand for an end to the persecution and violence against the community of Triunfo de la Cruz and OFRANEH. 

We demand immediate compliance by the Honduran government with the sentence issued by the IACHR regarding Triunfo de la Cruz and also demand guarantees for the collective rights of the Garifuna people to live on their ancestral lands according  to their own world view. 

We call on the international community to stand in solidarity with the community of Triunfo de la Cruz and OFRANEH in an effort to end the violence experienced day after day in the Garifuna communities.

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