27/09/17: The Garifuna of Honduras

The All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group (PHRG) met with a human rights defender and member of OFRANEH (Fraternal Black Organisation of Honduras) on 27 September to discuss violations of land rights and the rights of the Garifuna peoples more generally.  The PHRG is not publicising the HRD’s name at their request.

The discussion highlighted the levels of violence the Garifuna peoples face, and the on-going fight for their ancestral lands on the coast of Honduras, where they settled after being expelled from the Caribbean over 200 years ago and that are now under threat from projects being developed by foreign tourism companies. Lack of access to justice, criminalisation of HRDs (i.e., the misuse of the criminal justice system to attack HRDs and disrupt their work), corruption and organised crime, as well as Honduras’ continued non-compliance with two Inter-American Court rulings in favour of the Garifuna community, are deemed to be major problems. The recent change in legislation in Honduras which effectively criminalises peaceful protest is also very concerning.

The PHRG will continue to monitor the situation in Honduras closely and to raise its concerns, including in connection with protection needs of those working on land rights issues, with relevant interlocutors.