The Honduran government tried to defend the indefensible at the IACHR

October 26, 2011/ Giorgio Trucchi – Rel-UTIA  Within the framework of the 143th session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, International organizations (1) denounced the grave situation regarding violations of the human rights of thousands of small farmers’ families organized in the Lower Aguan.

In an attempt to respond to strong denunciations, the delegation representing the State of Honduras resorted to depicting unreal scenario that bewildered those attending the hearing.

The serious human rights situation in the Lower Aguan returned international prominence this week during hearings conducted on October 24 by the IACHR in Washington. Organizations that comprised the International Mission, among them Rel-UITA, presented and updated the conclusions and recommendations that were included in the final report on the situation of human rights in the zone.

42 campesinos, members of organizations, assassinated in the last two years, many wounded, disappeared, tortured, as well as innumerable forced evictions in violation of international standards, threats, harassment and total impunity, were part of the dramatic scenario presented to the commissioners of the IACHR.

The growing militarization of the Lower Aguan and the absolute power enjoyed by large landowners and palm oil producers of the zone, were other factors identified as causes of the violence against campesino organizations and families that struggle for access to land and a decent life.

“We have been able to make visible at the International level the gravity of what is happening in the Lower Aguan . Without a doubt this is the strongest aggression and repression against campesino communities during the past 15 years in Central America, stated Martin Wolpold-Bosien, Central American Coordinator of FIAN International, in an interview with Sirel.

The situation was surprisingly unknown to the representatives of the Honduran government. According to a defender of human rights from the Lower Aguan , Rudy Hernandez, they (the government) preferred to depict a false scenario of respect and compliance with the fundamental rights of the campesino families, as well as the investigation and prosecution of the crimes.

“Once again it was clearly demonstrated that the government representatives don’t know or don’t want to know of the grave human rights situation in Lower Aguan . All of this favors impunity,” emphasized Wolpold-Bosien.

The hearing ended with the presentation of the principal requests including  that the  IACHR recommend that the Honduran State investigate and punish all the crimes, end the repression and violence against the campesino movement and properly regulate the functioning of the private security companies, obligating them to respect human rights and  the agreements signed with the campesino organizations.

A site visit by the IACHR was also requested as well as a permanent monitoring of the human rights situation, attention to the requests for protective measures, that the IACHR express its concern for the situation in Lower Aguan in its annual Report and in the press communiqué that the IACHR will release at the conclusion of this period of sessions.