Honduran Rights Defenders to Speak in Washington October 24 & 25
On October 24, Honduran human rights defenders will be presenting their cases to the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights. Representatives of campesino and human rights groups in the Aguán, and Honduras experts from the U.S., will provide an update on the human rights and political situation in the Aguán Valley and beyond at Busboys and Poets the following day.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announces the schedule of hearings for the 143rd Sessions, which will be held from October 19 to November 4, 2011. The hearings will take place October 24, 25, 27 and 28 in the General Secretariat Building of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C.
The OAS will transmit all the public hearings live via webcast. The videos of these hearings will subsequently be posted on the IACHR website, and high-resolution copies will be available upon request. Details about these services can be found in the Commission's guidelines for press coverage of public hearings. In addition, all the public hearings may be heard on the Internet, through audio recordings posted on this page of the Commission's website.
In the hearings requested by the States, civil society will have 15 minutes available to present any information it considers relevant. Those interested in participating should communicate their interest by e-mail, at email@example.com, before October 18, 2011. In the e-mail, they should include the names of the individuals and/or organizations wishing to attend and specify what hearings they would like to participate in, along with any other information that might be of interest to include.
Members of the public who are interested may attend public hearings without having to register ahead of time. Journalists do not need any special accreditation. The IACHR does not make minutes or transcripts of the hearings public.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
Human Rights Situation in the Bajo Aguán, Honduras
Participants: Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), State of Honduras, Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (FIDH), Centro de Investigación y Promoción de Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH), FIAN International, Asociación de Agencias de Desarrollo ligadas al Concejo Mundial de Iglesias (APRODEV), Regional Latinoamericana de la Unión Internacional de los Trabajadores de la Alimentación, Agrícolas, Hoteles, Restaurantes, Tabaco y Afines (Rel-UITA), Iniciativa de Copenhague para Centroamérica y Mexico (CIFCA)
Human Rights Violations in the Context of Natural Resource Concessions in Honduras
Participants: State of Honduras, Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD), Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC), Movimiento amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia, Foro de Mujeres por la Vida
An Update from the Aguán Valley in Honduras
Busboys and Poets
1025 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
The Aguán Valley region of Honduras has been the site of intense repression and violence in recent months, as large landholders attempt to consolidate control over land for palm oil plantations and U.S.-funded police and military collaborate with private guards to violently destroy entire communities. Seventeen campesinos have been murdered in just the past few months in a human rights emergency that has received little international attention. The government of Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, meanwhile, continues to receive accolades from the U.S. government for its supposed “progress” on human rights--despite the fact that the killers in the Aguán have gone unpunished and military forces are responsible for much of the repression.
Representatives of campesino and human rights groups in the Aguán, and Honduras experts from the U.S., will provide an update on the human rights and political situation in the Aguán Valley and beyond.
Speakers will include:
Luis Guillermo Pérez, secretary general for Latin America of the International Federation for Human rights [FIDH], a network of 164 human rights organizations from around the world is a Colombian lawyer and member of the Laywers Collective "José Alvear Restrepo" (CCAJAR). Perez was forced to leave Colombia in 2002 due to death threats but returned in July 2010.
Rudy Hernández, a leader from the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguán (MUCA). Mr. Hernandez has focused on denouncing the killings of land rights movement leaders.
Felix Valentín López, coordinator of the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), an organization of indigenous Garifuna Afrodescendent communities bordering the Aguán.
Martin Wolpold-Bosien, the Central America Director for FoodFirst International Action Network (FIAN International) based in Germany. He has spent significant time investigating human rights abuses on the ground in the Aguán.
Dana Frank, Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of many books, including Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America, which examines the banana workers' unions of Honduras, and Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism. Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, San José Mercury News, and regularly in The Nation magazine, as well as many other publications and scholarly journals. For the past five years she has been researching the history of the AFL-CIO's Cold War intervention in the Honduran labor movement. Since the June 28 coup, she has spoken widely in the media in the U.S. and beyond, on the situation in Honduras, including NPR, Free Speech Radio News, and Al-Jazeera English TV. Her most recent article, "Zelaya Returns, but Justice is Still Not Done," appeared in The Nationonline.
Annie Bird, Co Director of Rights Action is now based in Washington, DC but had lived and worked in Central America for 15 years. Rights Action focuses on denouncing human rights violations by U.S. and Canadian governments and corporations in Central America and Mexico. Annie is currently focusing on monitoring the re-militarization of Central America and the implementation of the Central American Regional Security Initiative, a replica of Plan Colombia for Central America and the human rights impact of false climate change mitigation policies.
Sponsored by Rights Action and the Center for Economic and Policy Research. For more information, contact 202-239-1460.
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