Monday, October 8, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Honduras: International organisations condemn recent murder in Bajo Aguan

Honduras: International organisations condemn the murder of a peasants' human rights lawyer and defender from the lower Aguan and of the special prosecutor for human rights

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International Statement

October 1, 2012

The undersigned organizations condemn the murder of the lawyer and peasants' human rights defender, Antonio Trejo; and of the special prosecutor for human rights of the department of Choluteca, Eduardo Diaz Mazariegos.

On the night of Saturday September 22, 2012, the legal representative of the Movimiento Auténtico Reivindicador del Aguán- MARCA (Authentic Peasant Reclamation Movement of Aguan), Antonio Trejo (41 years old) was shot near the Toncontin airport, in Tegucigalpa.

Trejo represented peasant cooperatives of the Lower Aguan region, members of MARCA in their struggle for access to land in order to fulfill their right to food and housing, among other rights. After 18 years of litigation, Trejo achieved that the Civil Trial Court of Francisco Morazán and the District Trial Court of Trujillo ruled that the acquisition by the businessmen Miguel Facussé and René Morales of the states of San Isidro, La Trinidad and El Despertar -with a total area of 1,776 hectares- was illegal and restitute the right to land to the peasants.

On June 29, Honduran public security forces handed over the three states to MARCA peasants, in execution of the judicial decisions in their favor.

However, abusing the legal remedies the Honduran system offers, judicial protection of farmers was turned ineffective. The businessmen filed a writ of amparo (a judicial action for the protection of human rights) to reverse the land restitution. These petitions were arbitrarily granted, in violation of Honduran law. The restitution of land was reversed and the eviction of the MARCA(1) peasants was ordered.

The Report of the International Verification Mission documented the threats to Trejo and his family.(2) Trejo himself reported these threats to the state authorities namely the Criminal Investigation Directorate General; and to Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur, to whom he described the situation of human rights defenders in the Lower Aguan region. The threats against Trejo and his family intensified following the favorable ruling he secured for Lower Aguan peasants.

On September 24, 2012, the special prosecutor for human rights of the department of Choluteca, Eduardo Díaz Mazariegos, was shot dead by strangers, near the Prosecutor's Office in the city of Choluteca, Honduras.

International organizations have been constantly monitoring the situation in the Lower Aguan, including through an International Verification Mission on the Human Rights situation in the Lower Aguan, which took place in March 2011,(3) and through an International Public Hearing on the situation of human rights of peasant communities in the Lower Aguan,(4) held on May 28, 2012, in Tocoa, Colón.(5)

According to our documentation, to date 54 people affiliated to peasant organizations of the Lower Aguan, as well as a journalist and her partner, have been killed since September 2009 in the agrarian conflict that afflicts the region. In addition, a farmer has been missing since May 15, 2011.

We are worried about the fact that there has been no serious and impartial investigation of these crimes, according to information provided by the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights,.

The undersigned organizations strongly urge state institutions to investigate impartially and expeditiously the murder of the lawyer Antonio Trejo and the prosecutor Eduardo Díaz Mazariegos, to punish those directly and indirectly responsible of these crimes, and to provide integral reparation for their families.

We reiterate the recommendations contained in the Declaration of the International Public Hearing on the situation of human rights in peasant communities of The Lower Aguan, adopted on May 28, 2012 in Tocoa, Honduras:

To the Honduran State:

a. Investigate and punish seriously and expeditiously all crimes and other serious human rights violations committed in the Lower Aguan, and convict the perpetrators and masterminds of theseactions.

b. Cease immediately the repression, harassment and violence directed at the peasant movement.

    c. Take effective measures to provide protection to those at risk.

    d. Stop forced evictions.

e. Find a comprehensive, just, peaceful, and sustainable solution for the peasants demands,complying with the laws and fulfilling the political agreements entered with peasants'organizations.

f. Properly regulate the operation of private security companies to ensure full respect for humanrights.

    h. Invite the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to conduct an on-site visit.

To the International Community:

  • Insist that the Honduran government investigate and prosecute the violations of human rights in the Lower Aguan.

  • Take concrete and decisive measures to provide greater protection for people at risk, in particular in the Bajo Aguán.

  • Carry out ongoing monitoring of the situation in the Bajo Aguán and of the agrarian conflict in particular. Take an active role in defense of human rights.

  • Take measures to ensure that bilateral and multilateral economic aid to Honduras and to private companies does not contribute to human rights violations and is conditioned on full respect for human rights.

  • Review all aid agreements between international cooperation agencies or multilateral banks and Honduran security forces or the private companies allegedly involved in acts of violence, harassment and human rights violations in the region.

  • Promote a framework for aid and cooperation which includes a concept of security based on the promotion of justice and full respect for human rights.

  • Considering the grave situation of human rights violations, we conclude that adequate conditions do not exist for signing an Association Agreement between the EU and Central America.

  • Suspend international aid that promotes militarization and that worsens the human rights situation, in particular military aid from the United States.

  • Support the creation of an office in Honduras of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Carry out in loco visits by international human rights agencies, in particular the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, as well as the various United Nations special rapporteurs, in order to gather first-hand information about the human rights violations that have been committed and that are being committed in the Bajo Aguán.

International organizations will continue to monitor carefully the Lower Aguan situation, taking into consideration that the agrarian conflict in the Lower Aguan is the most serious, in terms of the extent o fviolence against peasants communities , in Central America of the last 15 years.

  1. See previous official communication to July 17th 2012: searchterm=Bajo Aguan

  2. See the Mission report: "Honduras: violaciones de derechos humanos en el Bajo Aguán" (Honduras: Human Rights violation in Bajo Aguán), July 2011, p. 23. Available at:

  3. See the Mission report: "Honduras: violaciones de derechos humanos en el Bajo Aguán" (Honduras: Human Rights violation in Bajo Aguán), July 2011. Available at:

  4. The video recording of the testimonies during the international public hearing, with English subtitles, is available at:

  5. See Declaration of the International Public Hearing at


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