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April 3, 2020 to April 15, 2020
#FreeThemAll. Release prisoners from state prisons and county jails. Release immigrant detainees. Did you know that ICE is holding immigrant detainees (including asylum-seekers) in four county jails across Ohio? We are joining with Detention Walk Network and others across the U.S. for 2 weeks of actions to #FreeThemAll. Ohioans: Pressure Gov DeWine, County Sheriffs in Ohio, and Dr. Acton (Director of Ohio Public Health) to immediately release all eligible detainees in Ohio jails, prisons, and detention centers; to make needed hygienic goods and health-related services free; and to guarantee clinical care for any one who contracts COVID-19 in Ohio’s carceral system.
April 4, 2020
The government of Honduras must hold accountable any police and security forces who unnecessarily or unlawfully restrict the work of journalists who are exercising the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression. On April 1, journalists Roger David Iraeta, Onán Zaldivar, and Edward Azael Fernández were reporting on a road blockade set up by residents on the highway from San Pedro Sula to Santa Bárbara as an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. The National Police and other public security forces threw tear gas canisters at the demonstrators to break up the blockade. The police assaulted the journalists, confiscated their equipment, and erased the footage they had just recorded. All three were taken to the police station in La Ceibita and held for several hours, unaware of what criminal charges were being brought against them.
April 3, 2020
Private security guards employed by the La Grecia Sugar Mill burned homes and used gunfire to forcibly evict families of the Cerro Escondido campesino cooperative from the land they have been farming In Choluteca Department since last year. There was no judicial warrant for this forced eviction. Police cooperated by cordoning off a section of nearby highway. Iris Argentina Álvarez Chávez, age 52, was shot dead. Her husband and others were wounded. We call on officials in Honduras to ensure that the families are able to return to their land and homes and that they be compensated. Additionally, we urge the adoption and enforcement of effective measures against forced evictions, in alignment with international norms. Iris Argentina Álvarez Chávez--¡presente!
April 2, 2020
#PorelDerechoaDefenderDerechos - As an active member of the Committee for Campesino Development (CODECA), Dominga Ramos Saljoj was a leader in the organized resistance against the privatization of electricity. The British-owned ENERGUATE, which has been waging a defamation campaign against CODECA leaders over the past several years, operates a monopoly in 80% of Guatemala. An assassin knocked on the door of the home of Dominga Ramos, said “This one is for you,” shot her 8 times, and took off on a motorcycle. Her daughter-in-law and grandchildren witnessed the gruesome murder. We must not allow impunity to continue for these assassinations. Dominga Ramos Saljoj - ¡presente!
April 1, 2020
Evelyn Johana Castillo is the assistant coordinator of the Ojojona Women's Network. In the mid-afternoon of March 24, Evelyn and her husband and adult daughter were out buying food when a police officer named Ramírez approached them, began to revise her daughter’s purse, then told Castillo to “shut up because you are disrespecting me.” The officer then ordered another officer (Andino) to take her into custody. Officer Andino began to aggressively detain Evelyn Castillo by pushing, pulling and shoving her. Evelyn Castillo says that this attack was actually a reprisal against her by Officer Ramírez. She explains that two days beforehand, a conflict arose when she came to the aid of a vendor in the park, defending her against Officer Ramírez who was trying to evict the vendor, even though her sales had been authorized by the municipal police. As Officer Ramírez placed Evelyn Castillo in the jail cell on March 24, the officer said to Evelyn: “You remember what happened the other day? You don’t think that I have forgotten.”
RRN Case Update
April 1, 2020
January, February, and March RRN case summaries at a glance
On behalf of our 190 Rapid Response Network members, IRTF volunteers write and send six letters each month to government officials in southern Mexico, Colombia, and Central America (with copies to officials in the US). Who is being targeted? indigenous and Afro-descendant leaders, labor organizers, LGBTI rights defenders, women’s rights defenders, journalists, environmental defenders, and others. By signing our names to these crucial letters, human rights crimes are brought to light, perpetrators are brought to justice and lives are spared. Our solidarity is more important than ever. Together, our voices do make a difference.
March 27, 2020
IRTF full-time volunteer Quin Galvin participated in a recent Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective to Colombia to learn from social leaders in the movement for environmental justice. This delegation brought about the realization that our work as environmental actors goes beyond the individual-actions approach that dominates our understanding of "how to be environmentally conscious," and how participating in collective work towards environmental justice is the only way towards collective liberation.
March 26, 2020
At least two other courts — the U.S. District Court in Boston and the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit — have ordered releases of individual immigration detainees in recent days due to virus concerns. There are about 40,000 immigrants in ICE custody across the country. Immigrant rights activists have called for the vast majority of them to be released to minimize their risk of contracting the virus.
March 26, 2020
Police and military are using aggression against journalists in Honduras to impede their reporting of government suppression of civil rights during the emergency "stay-at-home" order issued by the national government on March 15. In addition to pushing and slapping journalists, security force personnel have damaged recording and broadcasting equipment. Channel 6 reporter Paola Cobos reported live about the physical aggression by National Police against her and her camerman in Tegucigalpa on March 24.
March 26, 2020
IRTF joins with 74 organizations calling on the Dept of Justice to immediately close the immigration courts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every link in the chain that brings individuals to the court—from the use of public transportation, to security lines, crowded elevators, cramped cubicle spaces of court staff, packed waiting room facilities in the courthouses, and inadequate sanitizing resources at the courts—places lives at risk.