Thursday, September 27, 2012

Action Request: Help Spread the Truth about Honduras

Please read this brief update and action request below from the Friendship Office.

Suggestion for Canadian action:

Take a moment to call or write to your MP (to find out your MP's contact information, go to and:

- Express your concern over these recent killings, for the campesino communities that Mr. Trejos represented, and for the lives of all who work for truth and human rights in Honduras, and ask what the Canadian government is doing to protect human rights defenders in Honduras.

- Ask your MP to contact Minister of State for the Americas Diane Ablonczy and urge Canada to publicly suspend all political and economic support for Special Development Regions (known as "Charter" or "Model" Cities) in Honduras, which have been linked to recent attacks.

- Add your own concerns!

If you e-mail your MP please Cc:
-Minister of State for the Americas Diane Ablonczy
-Foreign Affairs Critic for the Official Opposition Paul Dewar
-Human Rights Critic for the Official Opposition Wayne Marston

Nicaragua-US Friendship Office of the Americas
September 27, 2012 

Dear Friends,  

We write at this moment to ask for your help. Those who struggle in defense of human rights in Honduras, already shaken by months of relentless violence, are now reeling from the recent murders of two prominent human rights lawyers.

On September 22, Antonio Trejo-Cabrera, a courageous attorney representing peasant groups in land conflicts in the Aguán region of Honduras, was gunned down. Trejos had recently presented a constitutional challenge to the highly contested "model cities" venture advanced by corporate investors and the Honduran government. Trejo planned to travel to Washington D.C. in coming weeks to testify at the Inter American Commission on Human Rights with peasant leaders. He had received death threats in the months leading up to his killing.

Two days later, Manuel Díaz-Mazariegos, a public prosecutor with the human rights division of the Attorney General's office, was gunned down. In 2008, Díaz Mazariego had participated in a hunger strike against corruption and for transparency in the Attorney General's office.

"There is a menacing climate of insecurity and violence in Honduras, and human rights defenders have been targets of threats, harassment, physical assault and murder. The impunity that surrounds these violations is unacceptable. When the perpetrators know they are very likely to get off scot-free, there is nothing to deter them from killing off more of the country's finest human rights defenders."

Bertha Oliva of COFADEH (Committee of the Victims of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras) issued an urgent plea to the international community:

"They want to paralyze us by picking us off piece by piece. I continue to trust in the people of Honduras, because they are wise. The people keep walking, demanding. It is clear where the repression comes from and who the repressors are. To stop us they will have to kill all of us. International solidarity to spread the truth about what is happening in Honduras will be key in this situation."

On October 3, 2012, the Commission of Truth will release its final report on the 2009 coup d'état and the crisis it has unleashed. Presentations will be made in three cities in Honduras.

You can also help "spread the truth about what is happening in Honduras."   Take a moment to call your member of Congress: (To find the name of your Representative in the U.S. Congress, go to  The Congressional Switchboard # is 202-224-3121.)   

- Express your concern over these recent killings, for the campesino communities that Mr. Trejos represented, and for the lives of all who work for truth and human rights in Honduras

-Ask your member of Congress to contact Hillary Clinton at the U.S. State Department and urge the U.S. to SUSPEND ALL POLICE AND MILITARY AID TO HONDURAS.

Thank you for helping to spread the truth.
Jenny Atlee

Original action can be found here.

Saturday, September 15, 2012



Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network Annual Gathering

November 9-11, 2012

If you are interested in issues that affect Latin America and the Caribbean, this is the gathering for you. Activists and interested participants from around the Maritimes gather to meet, network, plan and strategize on issues in these regions and explore what is going on, how we are affected and what we can do about it. It’s a great weekend to find ways to get connected with global solidarity and social change.

This year's theme is Movements: North and South. We will be exploring movements of resistance and creative alternatives in Latin America and in Canada. We will explore movements in defense of territory (against mining and drilling), defending the right to education, labour organizing, and local economic development initiatives.  A full agenda for the weekend will follow soon.

Please mark the dates on your calendar and join us! All are welcome!

For more information or to register, please contact Brian O'Neill at oneillnatural(at)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NEW DEADLINE! Honduras: Human Rights Accompaniment Training, June 2012 in Atlantic Canada

PLEASE NOTE: PROAH accepts applications on an ongoing basis from individuals who have been trained for human rights accompaniment in the recent past with organizations familiar to PROAH who have extensive experience in accompaniment work in a comparable context and fulfill the rest of the requirements mentioned above and in this PDF. Previously-trained volunteers who are accepted would not be required to participate in the June training in Canada, but would still have to participate in a week long in-country orientation. In-country orientations are scheduled to take place approximately every 6 weeks in Tegucigalpa. Contact Jenny Atlee at for upcoming orientation dates.

The next training opportunity for people qualified and interested in doing volunteer human rights accompaniment work with the Honduras Accompaniment Project / Proyecto de Acompañamiento internacional en Honduras (PROAH) will be held in collaboration with the Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS) in Nova Scotia, Canada, from June 24-27, 2012. This training is for individuals who have not be previously trained or worked as human rights accompaniers in a context comparable to PROAH's work in Honduras. Application deadline has been extended to April 30, 2012.

PROAH accompaniers are required to have fluency in Spanish, previous relevant experience in a Latin American context, commit to a minimum of 3 months accompaniment with the project (with a preference for 6 months to a year), participate in a human rights accompaniment training before leaving for Honduras, and participate in an in-country orientation in Honduras, prior to beginning their work with the project.

BTS has many years of successful experience training and supporting human rights accompaniers to work in Guatemala, and collaborated in a joint training with PROAH for the first time in June 2011. The training program is three nights and three days long and will be mostly in English with some sections in Spanish. The cost of the training is currently estimated at $535 CAD, plus your travel costs to and from Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, though the training committee is currently fundraising to reduce those costs. We encourage people to seek support from a Honduras/Latin America solidarity committee, church, union, community group, student association, etc. in their area to help cover training costs. (If you feel that costs are a serious impediment to your participation in this training, please get in touch with Jenny at as soon as possible – the Friendship Office cannot provide full support for training costs but can help you explore other options.)

After reading this PDF, if you are interested in participating in this training as preparation for accompaniment work with PROAH in Honduras, or your group or organization is interested in sponsoring a volunteer accompanier, please contact Jenny Atlee at for an application form and more information.

Application deadline is now April 30th, 2012. Space is limited. Additional information regarding volunteering with the Honduras Accompaniment Project is available here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

URGENT ACTION request re. New Proposed Mining Law in Honduras (English & Spanish)

Please see the Urgent Action request below (and sample letters here) from Pedro Landa of CEHPRODEC, who along with other groups (including the Environmental Committee of the Siria Valley, who has been fighting against the activities of Goldcorp for years and who's leaders have visited Canada a number of times regarding this issue), are closely monitoring and strongly oppose the new proposed Mining Law. Pedro Landa also testified in front of a Parliamentary Committee in Ottawa last March urging the Canadian government to not go ahead with the Honduras-Canada Free Trade Agreement because of the human rights situation in Honduras, particularly as related to practices of mining and other natural resources exploitation.

We are also requesting that Canadians and Canadian organizations sending these letters copy representatives of the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica, who are responsible for Honduras:

Ambassdor Cameron MacKay:
Political Officer Léonard Beaulne:
Office of the Canadian Embassy in Honduras:

The law could be approved at any time - it could be days or weeks, so it is important to begin sending letters as soon as possible. There have been experiences in Honduras in the last year or two of new controversial laws being approved in the middle of the night, in secret votes, without warning.

Thank you for your support!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dear colleagues,

As many of you know, the Honduran National Congress is preparing to approve a new mining law in the next few weeks in order to reopen the processes for granting concessions and beginning operations for over 300 mining projects. Despite the efforts on Honduran organizations, the Congress' Mining Commission has closed their doors to citizen participation.

In a meeting with the President of this Commission, he stated they "have great pressure from investors" and that they have incorporated the majorit of the proposals of social organizations into the new law. However, in reviewing the new proposed law, we have found that many of our proposals - the most important ones (such as the requirement for binding consultations, the banning of open pit mining and the use of toxic substances such as cyanide and mercury, and the possibility to expand areas currently off-limits to mining, and the characterization of environmental crimes) - have been left out, and there appears to be no disposition on the part of Congress to create a process to come to an agreement with social organizations.

We are here organizing ourselves and struggling against this process, and it would be of great help to have support from sister organizations such as yours in sending letters to the President of the National Congress (see attached sample letter), with a copy to the caucus leaders of the various political parties in Congress, and a copy to us as well.

The email addresses of the President of the National Congress, Juan Orlando Hernandez, are y

With a copy to caucus leaders at:

Toribio Aguilera: Caucus Leader for the Innovation Party and the Social Democratic Unity Party PINU-SD:
Marvin Ponce: Caucus leader for the Democratic Union Party (UD):
José Alfredo Saavedra: Caucus leader for the Liberal Party:
Celin Discua Elvir: Caucus leader for the National Party:
Augusto Cruz Ascencio: Caucus leader for the Christian Democrat Party:

We thank you in advance for your support.

Pedro Landa
Coordinator, Human Rights and Environment Program


Estimadas compañeras y estimados compañeros:

Como muchos de ustedes sabrán, el Congreso Nacional de Honduras se esta preparando para aprobar una nueva ley de minería en las próximas semanas para abrir nuevamente los procesos de concesionamiento y operación de mas de 300 proyectos mineros. A pesar de los esfuerzos realizados por las organizaciones hondureñas, la Comisión de Minería del Congreso ha cerrado las puertas a la participación ciudadana.

En una reunión sostenida con el presidente de la Comisión del Congreso, argumento que "tienen grandes presiones de los inversionistas" y que en la nueva ley se han incorporado la mayoría de las propuestas de las organizaciones sociales. Sin embargo al revisar el proyecto de ley encontramos que muchas de nuestras propuestas, las mas importantes (como la obligatoriedad de las consultas y el carácter vinculante, la prohibición de la minería a cielos abiertos, el uso de sustancias toxicas como cianuro y mercurio, la posibilidad de ampliar las zonas de exclusión para la minería y la tipificación de delitos ambientales) han sido dejadas por fuera y no existe la disposición del Congreso para generar un proceso de concertación con las organizaciones sociales.

Aquí estamos organizándonos para dar la pelea y seria de gran ayuda contar con el respaldo de organizaciones hermanas como ustedes, a través del envió de cartas al presidente del Congreso Nacional (ver modelo de carta aquí), con copia los jefes de bancada de los partidos pliticos en el Congreso y una copia para nosotros.

La dirección electrónica del presidente del Congreso es y

Con copia a los jefes de Bancada:

Toribio Aguilera: Jefe de Bancada del Partido Innovación y Unidad Social Demócrata PINU-SD correo electrónico:
Marvin Ponce: Jefe de Bancada del partido Unificación Democrática:
José Alfredo Saavedra: Jefe de Bancada del Partido Liberal:
Celin Discua Elvir: Jefe de bancada del partido nacional:
Augusto Cruz Ascencio: Jefe de Bancada del Partido Demócrata Cristiano:

Agradeciendo de antemano su apoyo,

Pedro Landa
Coordinador del programa de Derechos Humanos y Medioambiente

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Urgent Action (Honduras): Attacks by Police on Civilians Continue in Honduras

Original version in Spanish was posted by COFADEH here on Defensores en línea.

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras

Urgent Action: Attacks by Police on Civilians Continue in Honduras

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (Cofadeh) express our concern for repeated abuse committed by the Honduran police against the population. In the last two weeks at least three people have reported assaults and assassination attempts by police officers.

January 7, 2012, around 8:00 p.m., Gonzalo Cruz, 42 years old and resident of the community of San Antonio, in the village of Taragual, municipality of Iguala, department of Lempira, was returning from buying medicine when he was shot by police officers Amado Jovel Díaz and Danilo Jovel Díaz, who were drinking alcoholic beverages at the time. Both officers demanded that Gonzalo Cruz provide them with more drinks, and since Gonzalo did not have any alcohol with him they repeatedly shot at him. According to reports from physicians who attended him at the Santa Rosa Hospital, he suffered 14 wounds in different parts of his body. One of the bullets resulted in severe damage to one of his lungs. The police officers, who were dressed in civilian clothing, abandoned the scene on a motorcycle.

Gonzalo Cruz is an active member of the Comprehensive Coordinating Committee of Taragual (Coordinadora Integral del Taragual) and the Network in Defence of the Right to Common Property (Red en Defensa de los Derechos de los Bienes Comunes), which is currently engaged in a struggle to defend natural resources, particularly against the concession of rivers for hydroelectric projects.

In the first half of the month of December, 2011, these same police officers were taking photographs of the houses of active members in the community, especially those who had been identified as members of the Resistance.

Other Acts of Police Aggression:

On December 26, 2012 at around 8:30pm, Marco Aurelio Lorenzo, parish priest of the catholic church of Macuelizo, Santa Bárbara, was attacked along with two of his brothers by eight members of the Police near the turnoff towards El Rosario, near kilometre 24 on the highway between San Miguelito and Yamaranguila in the department of Intibucá. He lost consciousness due to his injuries and required sixteen stitches in his head. His younger brother suffered a broken rib.

On December 22 at around 9:30pm, members of the police force ordered journalist and correspondent for Colombian television station NTN24, Leonel Espinoza, to get out of his vehicle. They pointed their regulation weapons at him, handcuffed his hands behind his back with so much force that his wrists nearly bled, and began to beat him. He was held by the police for close to an hour. Although he requested the help of high-ranking police officials, the patrol assigned to aid him failed to do so, and instead humiliated him and falsely accused him of public disorder/disturbing the peace. The incident occurred when the journalist was driving his car to the San José de la Peña district in Comayagüela.

Cofadeh is concerned about the systematic pattern of attacks against civil society activists by police officers, and asks the national and international community to demand that the State of Honduras adopts the necessary measures and effective mechanisms to guarantee the life of Gonzalo Cruz. It should also demand a thorough and impartial investigation into the facts surrounding these incidents and appropriate punishment of those responsible.

Please direct letters, calls and faxes to Honduran Justice officials:

Jorge Alberto Rivera Avilés
President of the Supreme Court
Tel (504) 269-3000 269-3069

Luis Alberto Rubí
Attorney General
Fax (504) 221-5667
Tel (504) 221-5670 221-3099

And copy to:

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)
Barrio La Plazuela, Avenida Cervantes, Casa No. 1301
Apartado Postal 1243
Tegucigalpa, HONDURAS
Fax:+504 220 5280 (call and ask for: "tono de fax")