Friday, August 29, 2014

[biofuelwatch] Fwd: Honduran Military Burns Corn Harvest of Campesinos, as Hunger and Starvation Spread Due to Drought

Rights Action

August 28, 2014 



Honduran Military Burns Corn Harvest of Campesinos, as Hunger and Starvation Spread Due to Drought

Even as levels of hunger and starvation are spiking in Guatemala and Honduras due to drought, the U.S.- and Canadian-back Honduran military burns 52 acres of corn, the staple survival food of campesinos.




Honduran Military Attack on Food Security of Peasant Families in Northern Aguan Region


From: Lasolidarity, On Behalf Of Greg McCain,

Sent: August 28, 2014


Below is an English translation of the denouncement made by the Observatory of Human Rights of the Aguán (OPDHA) of the illegal, violent eviction of campesino families and the destruction of their cultivated crops.


The Permanent Human Rights Observatory of the Aguan (OPDHA) Denounces:

That on this day, August 27, 2014, in the citrus plantation of La Consentida, adjacent to the village of Rigores in the municipality of Trujillo, owned by the fruit processor Colon Fruit Company (COFRUTCO), the destruction of 52 acres of cultivated corn, six of which were ready for harvest was carried out. This represented food security for 36 families of the campesino business "Nuevo Esperanza" who entered the land four months ago.


At about 8:00 am a contingent of six military and police vehicles, including an ambulance, operating under the command of Colonel Rene Jovel Matínez, chief commanding officer of Operation Xatruch III, proceeded with the eviction. The campesinos left peacefully.


At 10:10am the human rights defenders of OPDHA accompanied by the lawyer Juan Frañón, a delegate of the Department of the National Human Rights Commission (CONADEH), tried to open a dialogue with Colonel Martinez Jovel.


Colonel Martinez refused to talk with members of OPDHA seeking instead a personal conversation with Attorney Frañón. Martinez verbally attacked Martha Ligia Arnold, human rights defender and Coordinator of the OPDHA, whom he accused of being responsible for what went on there (campesinos recuperating the land), and he stated that the OPDHA lacked the legal status as a human rights advocacy organization. He refused to provide information to the members of the OPDHA.


At 10:30 am Colonel Pavel Martinez together with Attorney Alexander Cardona Fúnez, the judge who executed the eviction order, proceeded to destroy, with a plow hitched to a tractor, the 52 acres of cultivated corn, even though the staff of the National Agrarian Institute (INA) and the members of OPDHA who were present at the scene requested an extension of two months so that the farmers could harvest the corn. Dialogue was impossible given the violent and authoritarian attitude of Colonel Martinez.


Representatives of OPDHA and INA went to the offices of COFRUTCO, located in Sonaguera, to speak with Mr. Arturo Fortin, representative of the company, but he was not in his office. A short time later members of OPDHA reached Fortin by telephone, but he refused to meet with them stating that he was in a meeting.


The OPDHA repudiates the destruction of the food security of 36 families in extreme poverty in the implementation of this new eviction without prior notification to those affected as has always occurred in the Bajo Aguan.


The ignorance on the part of the head of operation Xatruch III, Colonel Jovel Martinez, with his aggression and denial of information to human rights defenders, breaches the obligation of the military commander to the commitments made by the State of Honduras within the framework of Resolution 53/144 of the United Nations which gives the right to human rights defenders to access all information on events that jeopardize the rights of the population for whom they act.


The OPDHA urges the Secretariat of Human Rights, the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, and the National Human Rights Commissioner at the highest level to investigate these facts and the relevant actions and measures to ensure that in similar evictions the right to food of the affected population are respected, and that the enforcement authorities frame their behavior in the context of the protection of human rights at the national and international level.


The Permanent Observatory of Human Rights of the Aguán

Tocoa, Colon August 27th, 2014


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