Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peasants fighting for lan attract international attention

Lisa Haugaard
Christian Science Monitor
"We just want the government to enforce its own laws," we heard over and over again, as we listened to women and men froma campesino communities who were testifying about murder, torture, and violent land evictions in Bajo Aguán, Honduras.  
I was in the farm town of Tocoa, Honduras, in the open-air parish meeting hall, for an International Public Hearing on the Human Rights Situation of the Peasant Communities of Bajo Aguán, on May 28, 2012.  The Latin America Working Group [LAWG] was part of a commission of Latin American, European, and US experts hearing the testimony and issuing recommendations to encourage justice and protection for peasant communities (English declaration here; Spanish here).  Surrounding the town are miles and miles of massive African palm plantations, beautiful and a bit sinister. The roads leading from Tocoa are filled with army and police roadblocks.
Local human rights organizations have documented the murders of 48 campesinos, or peasants, associated with the campesino movements in Bajo Aguán since January 2012.  One campesino leader was disappeared, a number of campesinos have been wounded, and several people have been tortured.  There are numerous incidents of threats against campesino activists.  In addition, a journalist who had favorably covered the peasant movement, along with his partner, were assassinated.
Read more here.

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