Urgent request for solidarity in regards to the violence recently committed by the Government of Honduras against local peasants
32 members of the "Vallecito Peasant Movement", situated in Sinaloa, Tocoa municipality, Department of Colón, became victims of severe violence on October 6, 2006. Two peasants were wounded by bullets, and the others were beaten up by police agents. The victims belong to 88 peasant families of the Movement who were settled by INA (the National Agrarian Institute) on land in this region. At this moment the peasant families live in precarious conditions in a refugee camp of INA without adequate food or housing.
It is very important to ask the Government of Honduras to investigate the circumstances of this police repression, and to search for a solution of the agrarian conflict. Please send a letter to the President of Honduras in which you express your concern about this case and demand that the President adopts appropriate measures to investigate these acts of violence and solve the conflict in compliance with the peasants´ right to food. Please send a copy of your letter to the Minister for External Affairs and to the solicitor of the peasants.
On February 26, 2006 the INA settled 88 families of the "Peasant Movement of Vallecito" in Vallecito, in Limón municipality, Colón, on plots bought by the Agrarian Institute. At the same time the businessman Miguel Facussé and cattle breeders of the region claimed to be the legitimate owners of this land. It seems that the legal ownership of the land plot in question had not been clarified beforehand. On April 16, 2006, the peasants were forcibly evicted without any court order. Since then the families have been living in a refugee camp of INA - including 205 girls and boys - without adequate food and housing.
On October 3, 2006, Vice Minister Marco Tulio Cartagena of the INA Institute authorised the peasants to harvest palm fruits on one of the plots owned by INA, but claimed for by Mr. Luis Alejandro Escobar, coordinator of the University Centre of the Atlantic Coast (CURLA) in Sinaloa. When the peasants were harvesting the fruit on the aforementioned land, Mr. Escobar arrived, accompanied by the agents Marlon Orlando Guifarro and Carlos Rojas of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DGIC), ignoring the authorisation of INA. Witnesses indicate that the Coordinator shot at one peasant, named Juan Ramírez, hitting his right hand. According to the witnesses this shot led to the escalation of the conflict during which another peasant, Antonio Ramírez, was injured by a shot. Furthermore 29 peasants were detained for five days in prison where they were beaten; every 24 hours they were allowed to leave their cell to use the bathroom, and had to suffer other kinds of physical maltreatment. It was also testified that, when the peasants went to present their complaint about these violent acts, two policemen of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation refused to receive the complaint, but rather threatened to arrest them, detaining peasant Ms. Erica Marlin Saldivar for one hour. On October 28, five hooded persons heavily armed arrived at the refuge of the peasant families, and threatened them that four of their leaders would disappear.
Mandate of the Emergency Network:
Honduras is State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Therefore, all state´s authorities are obliged to respect, protect and fulfil the Rights enshrined in these treaties, especially the Right to Food and the Right to the Physical Integrity of Persons.
End of Action: 31-12-2006
Addresses: Copies to:
Lic. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales Presidente de la República de Honduras
Colonia Lomas del Mayap
Boulevard Juan Pablo II
Edificio José Cecilio del Valle
Fax ++504 - 239-3298
Abog. Milton Jimenez
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Contiguo a Corte Suprema de Justicia
Abog. José Antonio Soto
Parroquia San Isidro
Barrio El Centro
Please inform FIAN about any replies to your letters
English version of sample letter
Dear Mr. President,
With great concern I received the information that 32 peasants, women and men, members of the "Peasant Movement of Vallecito", situated in Sinaloa, Department of Colón, have become victims of severe violence on October 6, 2006. According to the information received, two peasants were wounded by shots, the others were beaten by policemen. It was also stated that, when the affected peasants wanted to present their complaint about these violent acts, two police agents of the DGIC rejected to receive it, instead they threatened to arrest them. The victims belong to the 88 peasant families, members of the Peasant Movement of Vallecito, who were settled by the National Agrarian Institute (INA) on a plot of land in this region and who had been forcibly evicted earlier this year. At present, the peasant families live in precarious conditions in a refugee camp of INA without adequate food and housing.
Honduras is a State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Therefore, all State´s authorities are obliged to respect, protect and fulfil the rights enshrined in these covenants, particularly the Right to Food and the Right to Physical Integrity of the person.
Therefore, I ask you, Mr. President, to take together with all other competent authorities the immediate and appropriate measures to
- carry out the necessary in depth investigation of the events on October 6th, particularly the acting of the CURLA coordinator, of the two agents from the DGIC and of the Preventive Police;
- solve the agrarian conflict, particularly the legal aspects regarding the land which was handed over by INA to this peasant group, and the peasants´ taking possession of this plot of land.
Spanish version of sample letter
Excelentísimo Señor Presidente,
Con profunda preocupación he recibido la información de que 32 campesinas y campesinos, miembros del "Movimiento Campesino Vallecito", situado en Sinaloa, departamento de Colón, fueron objeto de graves formas de violencia el 6 de octubre de 2006. Según mis informaciones, dos campesinos quedaron heridos de bala, los demás sufrieron golpes por parte de los agentes policiales. También indicaron que cuando los/as campesinos/as iban a presentar la denuncia por los hechos de violencia, los dos agentes de la DGIC no aceptaron recibir la misma, y más bien amenazaron con detenerlos. Las víctimas forman parte de las 88 familias campesinas aglutinadas en el Movimiento de Vallecito que fueron asentadas por el Instituto Nacional Agrario (INA) en un predio en esta zona y desalojadas forzosamente hace varios meses. En este momento las familias campesinas viven en circunstancias precarias, refugiadas en un centro de acopio del INA sin alimentación y vivienda adecuada.
Honduras es Estado Parte del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales, y del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos. Por lo tanto, toda autoridad del Estado tiene que respetar, proteger y garantizar los derechos reconocidos en estos tratados, en particular el derecho a la alimentación y el derecho a la integridad física de la persona.
Por lo tanto, le solicito, Sr. Presidente, adoptar en cooperación con las demás autoridades competentes las medidas inmediatas y apropiadas para
- Investigar debida y exhaustivamente los hechos del 6 de octubre, en particular la actuación del coordinador del CURLA, de los dos agentes de la DGIC y de la Policía Preventiva;
- Solucionar el conflicto agrario, en particular el saneamiento de la tierra que el INA entregó a los grupos campesinos y la debida puesta in posesión de los mismos en la tierra que les fue asignada.
La Vía Campesina
Internacional Operative Secretariat
Jalan Mampang Prapatan XIV No 5
Jakarta Selatan 12790, Jakarta - Indonesia
Tel +62 21 7991890
Fax +62 21 7993426
Contact Campaign for Agrarian Reform:
Tel: +504 235 9915 //+504 232 2198
P.O. Box 10 22 43
D - 69012 Heidelberg - Germany
Tel + 49 6221 65300 30
Fax +49 6221 830545