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Open letter to Porfirio Lobo Sosa, President of Honduras by agrarian conflict

Within the framework of the 1st Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Coordination of National Associations and Networks of NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean, made up of 18 regional and national organisations, we are writing to you to express our deep concern regarding the serious consequences of the agrarian conflict in Bajo Aguán. Since 2009, these have included acts of repression, violence, the criminalisation against farmers’ organisations and the murder of their leaders.

Mr Porfirio Lobo Sosa
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HONDURAS
Delivered by hand

Dear Mr President,

Within the framework of the 1st Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Coordination of National Associations and Networks of NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean, made up of 18 regional and national organisations, we are writing to you to express our deep concern regarding the serious consequences of the agrarian conflict in Bajo Aguán. Since 2009, these have included acts of repression, violence, the criminalisation against farmers’ organisations and the murder of their leaders.

Several international organisations have continually monitored the situation in Bajo Aguán through various processes. Amongst these are the “International Verification Mission on the Human Rights situation in Bajo Aguán”, conducted in March 2011, and the “International Public Hearing on the Human Rights situation in Farming Communities in Bajo Aguán”, held on 28 May last year in Tocoa, Colón.

However, despite the efforts of civil society organisations, more than 50 people linked to farmers’ organisations, as well as journalists and human rights activists, have been murdered.

In this context, Mr President, we are concerned that the Honduran government is not responding to this critical situation in accordance with its obligations before the international community to put an end to these crimes that are being committed with impunity. Furthermore, victims and their families have not been compensated. This agrarian conflict merits a comprehensive, fair, peaceful and sustainable solution.

Amongst the cases that the Coordination identifies as a priority and that require an urgent response from your government are the murders of Antonio Trejo Cabrera, legal representative of the Peasants Movement of the Valley of Bajo Aguán (MARCA), and Eduardo Díaz Mazariegos, special human rights prosecutor in the department of Choluteca.

Mr President, the national platforms and regional networks of NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean who are signatories to this letter condemn this wave of violence and repression, and the culture of impunity that surrounds it. We urge you to act in accordance with the inescapable responsibility of the government to respect, protect and guarantee the human rights of its citizens.

Yours faithfully,

Coordination of National Associations and Networks of NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean

C.c. Arturo Corrales Álvarez, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

María del Carmen Nasser de Ramos, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Santiago, Chile)

Ambassador Leonidas Rosa Bautista, Permanent Representative of Honduras to the OAS (Washington, USA)