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HONDURAS
One united movement
3/2/2011
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Indigenous, Afro-Hondurans join forces against infringements on their land.

Some 1,800 delegates from Honduran indigenous and Afro-descendant communities held a constituent assembly in late February, the first of its kind for these marginalized groups.

Meeting in the Caribbean town of San Juan Durugubuti, Tela, delegates from the Pech, Tawahka, Maya-Chorti, Tolupanes, Lencas, Miskitu, Creoles and Garínagu communities issued a declaration calling for the government of President Porfirio Lobo to urgently take steps to protect their frequently infringed rights.

The declaration said his government had allowed for the construction of projects such as private dams, that led to invasions of indigenous lands. Mining and large-scale tourism infrastructure is another threat, they added.

Local, independent media is also under threat.

“We declare our worry for the attacks and threats against community media, violating the right to free broadcast of thoughts and the right of our people to create their own alternative media as is established in the International Labor Organization´s Convention 169, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said the declaration. The statement said Lobo´s government should adopt the UN declaration as national law.

Participants pointed to a growing trend of privatization in the health care and education sectors as a particularly worrying element of the current government.

“The event surpassed all of our expectations,” said Bertha Cáceres, coordinator of the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. She said the delegates´ final declaration included “our cosmovision, historical memory, knowledge, principles and values” of indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples.
—Latinamerica Press.


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