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Honduras: Forced eviction of peasant group, Santa Ana de Aguan/Yoro

Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform

Friday 18 May 2007, by LRAN

0710AHND 18-05-2007

113 women and men peasants, members of the peasant group "6th of November", living in
Santa Ana de Aguan, Yoro municipality, Department of Yoro, had to suffer a serious form
of violence on April 10th, 2007. The peasant group was violently evicted for the sixth
time from the land which had been assigned to them by the National Agrarian Institute in
1982; four members of the group have been abducted by a paramilitary group led by a
landowner who claims to be the land owner. At this moment the peasant families are not
living on their land without access to their food source because the landowner threatens
with death any member of the group who tries to enter the land plot.

In view of this situation it is of utmost importance to urge the Government of Honduras
to investigate these violent and repressive acts and to protect the peasant group’s
access to their land. Please send a letter to the President of Honduras, in which you
express your concern about this case. Please send a copy of your letter to the Foreign
Minister and to the legal representative of the peasants.

Background

In 1982 the peasant group "6th of November" was settled on the land by the National
Agrarian Institute (INA). Based on the then valid Agrarian Reform Law the INA
expropriated 69 "manzanas" (about 48 hectares) because they were not being cultivated
and assigned these to the peasant group, which at present comprises 26 families, i.e.
113 persons. For more than 20 years the peasants lived peacefully on their land, growing
basic staples and vegetables. In 2003 the first violent eviction took place and the
crops and water irrigation system were destroyed. After a second violent eviction in
2003, the case was denounced and taken to the Supreme Court of Justice. After waiting
for three years, the Supreme Court sentenced in favor of the peasant group and ordered
the Judge of Yoro that the civil sentence which was the basis for the eviction order be
annulled in order to reestablish the peasants’ rights. However, this judge never
complied with the Supreme Court’s sentence.

The peasants returned to their land, after the big landowner was ordered to leave the
land. But the answer of the landowner was violence, creating a paramilitary group in
order to attack the peasants, the first action of this group led to the injury of an 18
year old youngster. According to testimonies of the peasant group since that time the
harassment has become each time more violent and constant: then two members of the group
were intercepted by hooded individuals when traveling in their vehicle, one of them was
hurt by two bullet impacts in his leg. The peasants state that the National Police
denied to transport the injured peasant to the hospital. Some days later a group of
armed men fired shots close to the peasants, supposedly to intimidate them. At the end
of 2006, INA gave the land in possession to the peasant group and in fulfillment of the
sentence by the Supreme Court of Justice, i.e. the very same land assigned to them in
1982.

On April 10, a paramilitary group under the leadership of lieutenant Hector Javier
Chávez López abducted the following four members of the peasant group: Jimmy Adonis
Licona, Julio Geovany Zelaya, Julio Pastor Ramos y Lucas Murillo. According to
witnessing peasants, agents of the National Police collaborated with the paramilitaries
and transported the kidnapped persons to the police offices as if they were being
detained. A peasant was held prisoner for six days and set free by order of the judge.
The peasants pointed out that that very same day the peasant group had again been
evicted by State police agents.

Mandate of the Emergency Network

Honduras is 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 authorities have to respect, protect and fulfil the rights recognized in these
treaties, particularly the Right to Food.

End of the action: June 30, 2007

Addresses

- Ing. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales

Presidente de la República de Honduras

Colonia Lomas del Mayab

Boulevard Juan Pablo II

Tegucigalpa

Honduras

Edificio José Cecilio del Valle

Fax ++504 - 239-3298

Copy:

- Abog. Milton Jimenez

Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores

Boulevard Kuwai

Contiguo a Corte Suprema de Justicia

Tegucigalpa

Honduras

Fax: ++504-234-1922

++504-234-1484

Copy:

- Asociación Campesina Nacional (ACAN)

Colonia Kennedy,

I Entrada, Supermanzana 5

Bloque 25, Casa No.2, Zona 2

Tegucigalpa

Fax: 230-13-43

Email: acan@amnettgu.com

Please inform FIAN about any reply you might get

Translation of the Letter

Your Excellency,

With profound concern I got to know, that 113 women and men peasants, members of the
peasant group "6th of November", living in Santa Ana de Aguan, Department of Yoro, are
victims of grave and constant forms of violence. According to this information, the most
recent violent occurrences happened on April 10th, 2007, when four members of the group
were abducted by a paramilitary group, one of them was detained for six days in the
police precinct. The names of the kidnapped peasants are as follows: Jimmy Adonis
Licona, Julio Geovany Zelaya, Julio Pastor Ramos y Lucas Murillo. According to
testimonies of the peasants, this same day the peasants were violently evicted by agents
of the National Police and the DGIC, which was declared illegal by the district attorney
of Yoro. At present, the peasants are living outside of their land, without any access
to their food source. The peasants indicate that they have been cultivating these lands
for more than 25 years, which were assigned to them by INA in 1982 and that they have a
verdict in their favor of 2006 by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Honduras is State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Therefore, all
State authorities have to respect, protect and guarantee the rights recognized in these
treaties, particularly the Right to Food.

Therefore, Mr. President, I ask you to take all immediate and appropriate measures in
cooperation with all related authorities in order to


- Guarantee the lawful possession of the peasants of the land which had been
assigned to them by INA according to the verdict by the Supreme Court of Justice and to
protect the access to this land of the peasant group.

- Investigate extensively what happened on April 10th, particularly the
handling of the agents of DGIC and the National Police during the forced eviction.

- Disarm and legally take measures against the paramilitary group responsible
for the abductions on that day.

Yours sincerely,


Carta en Español

Su Excelencia

Lic. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales

Presidente de la República de Honduras

Colonia Lomas del Mayab

Boulevard Juan Pablo II

Tegucigalpa

Honduras

Edificio José Cecilio del Valle

Fax ++504 - 239-3298

Excelentísimo Señor Presidente,

con profunda preocupación he recibido la información de que 113 campesinos y campesinas,
miembros del grupo campesino “6 de noviembre", situado en Santa Ana de Aguan,
departamento de Yoro, son objeto de graves y constantes formas de violencia. Según mis
informaciones, en los hechos violentos más recientes el día 10 de abril del año
corriente cuatro miembros del grupo fueron secuestrados por un grupo paramilitar, uno de
ellos detenido durante seis días en la sede policial. Los nombres de los campesinos
secuestrados son: Jimmy Adonis Licona, Julio Geovany Zelaya, Julio Pastor Ramos y Lucas
Murillo. Según los testimonios de los campesinos, el mismo día el grupo campesino fue
desalojado forzosamente por agentes de la Policía Nacional y de la DGIC, hecho que fue
declarado ilegal por el fiscal de Yoro.

En este momento los/as campesinos/as están fuera de sus tierras privados de su fuente de
alimentación. Los/as campesinos/as indican que ya tienen más de 25 años de trabajar
estas tierras que les fueron adjudicadas por el INA en el año 1982 y que cuentan con un
fallo de la Corte Suprema de Justicia del ano 2006 a su favor.

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.

Por lo tanto, le solicito, Sr. Presidente, adoptar en cooperación con las demás
autoridades competentes las medidas inmediatas y apropiadas para


- Garantizar la debida puesta en posesión de los/as campesinos/as en la tierra
que les fue asignada por el INA en ejercicio del fallo de la Corte Suprema de Justicia y
proteger el acceso del grupo campesino a la misma.

- Investigar debida y exhaustivamente los hechos del 10 de abril, en particular
la actuación de los agentes de la DGIC y de la Policía Nacional durante el desalojo
forzoso;

- Desarmar y proceder penalmente contra el grupo paramilitar responsable de los
secuestros en ese día.

Atentamente

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


La Vía Campesina

International Operative SEcretariat

Jalan Mampang Prapatan XIV No 5

Jakarta Selatan 12790, Jakarta - Indonesia

Tel +62 21 7991890

Fax +62 21 7993426

viacampesina@viacampesina.org