International Day Of Action In Solidarity With Honduran Indigenous Defenders
Pressure the Honduran Government to drop criminal charges and cease violence against indigenous defenders of land and water.
*Please see below for info on direct actions planned in San Francisco, New York City, New Orleans, and Chicago; consider planning an action in your city; or respond to the request for phone calls and emails below.*
On September 12, three leaders of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) must appear in court to face charges by the Honduran government and a hydroelectric dam company. They are Berta Caceres, Tomás Gomez, and Aureliano Molina. The highly politicized case is aimed at criminalizing COPINH and breaking the strong Lenca indigenous resistance to illegal damming, logging, and mining in their territories.
Beyond the plunder of their lands, forests, and waters, the physical, legal, and political attacks on COPINH members and other indigenous peoples have been increasing rapidly. Assassinations, kidnapping, machete slashing, arrests, and threats are weekly events in the communities which are resisting.
Please join allies throughout the Americas for a day of action to pressure the Honduran government to:
– Drop all judicial charges against Berta Caceres, Tomás Gomez, Aureliano Molina, and all others peaceably defending their lands;
– Cancel the damming concession on the Rio Gualcarque and stop the project;
– Respect Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization requiring free, prior, and informed consent by indigenous peoples before development projects may proceed on their lands, and the Honduran constitution requiring protection of the lands and rights of indigenous communities. Respect all ancestral territories;
– Stop the violence against indigenous communities.
Involve yourself and your organization by:
* Co-sponsoring an ad in a prominent Honduran newspaper, to run onSeptember 10, with the demands above (click here for text). Writeinfo.firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 9 to add your organization’s name;
* Joining people throughout the hemisphere in actions in front of Honduran embassies and consulates on September 10, if you live in one of the following cities:
- San Francisco: Tuesday, September 10th, 11am-1pm. Rally at Honduran Consulate, 870 Market St #875, San Francisco, CA 94102. Contact: email@example.com
- New York City: Tuesday, September 10th, letter drop at Honduran Consulate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- New Orleans: Tuesday, September 10th, 8:30-9:30 am. Letter drop and rally at Honduran Consulate, 365 Canal Street, Suite 1580, New Orleans, LA. Contact: email@example.com
- Plan a letter drop, rally, or other action in your own city and firstname.lastname@example.org to get the details up on the website.
* Sending an e-mail to the Honduran government urging them to stop the judicial persecution of COPINH and to US officials urging them to end military aid to the Battalion stationed in Rio Blanco.
* Calling the Honduran authorities on September 10 and urging them to stop the criminalization of COPINH.
WE ARE ALL BERTA, TOMAS, AND AURELIANO!
Background: For over 5 months, the Lenca community of Rio Blanco has been blocking the illegal construction of a hydroelectric dam, part of a larger mega-dam complex, on their territory. The concession for this dam was illegally granted without the constitutionally protected consent of the Lenca people who live in the area and who depend on the river to grow the beans, corn, yucca, plantains, and other crops to survive. The Honduran military, funded by many millions of dollars in US aid, has been deployed to Rio Blanco since May 17, where it serves as de facto private security guards for the company. Soldiers murdered one community member and shot two others, while dam employees hacked the face and arms of another, and yet another community member and key witness to the murder by the military was kidnapped by the police on September 5. All over Honduras, soldiers, police, goons hired by corporations, and those claiming to be landowners are committing similar violence, and similar theft of indigenous land and the riches of nature upon them.
For more information, here are some recent articles about COPINH:
Defending Indigenous Lands and Waters: The Case of Rio Blanco
They Fear Us Because We’re Fearless: Reclaiming Indigenous Lands and Strength in Honduras
We Don’t Have Life Without Land: Holding Ground in Honduras.