FIAN: Human Rights Situation in Bajo Aguán, Honduras

Posted on June 13, 2010

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Concerned about human rights violations in the wake of agrarian conflict between landowners and farmers, FIAN Honduras has intensified its visits in situ to verify the allegations they often receive. The findings are dramatic. Poverty and violent actions that claim human lives have increased. In the Lower Aguán, this year alone, 10 people have been reported dead, there are reports of threats and direct intervention of repressive forces of the state against peasant leaders and popular organizations; both situations that are directly linked to the agrarian problem.

Such is the case of the Guadalupe Carney community and the lands taken by the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan (MUCA), that remained virtually surrounded by military and police from April 10 to May 20. Military and police agents stopped and searched everyone who went in and out of the rural settlements, as human rights and international organizations later confirmed. The people who walked the streets suffered constant humiliation by the police who, taking advantage of their helplessness, abused and humiliated passersby, many cases forcing them to pay bribes accusing them of committing unlawful acts that were untrue.

The problem between peasants and landowners persists in the country because unfortunately, public policies are not put into place to eliminate barriers that impede access to the land for the peasants. These campesinos live under exploitation already condemned by the Agrarian Reform Law of 1974, such as: the rental of land, sharecropping, and workforce pay that is insufficient and does not meet the minimum needs of the peasant families.

In this situation, the regime seeks to achieve in a hurry national and international recognition by both nations and international funding agencies. Hence the strategy of reconciliation, promoted by the current regime in the media, will not go beyond a slogan until the serious structural problems that keep the majority of the population in misery are kept in place nor until the constitutional order is restored.

To read full report go to (in Spanish): Situación de los derechos humanos en el Aguán informe a 31 mayo