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Afro-Descendant & Indigenous: News & Updates
April 27, 2021 to June 27, 2021
Did you know that 80% of IRTF's revenue comes from individual donors, with an average gift of $50? Please consider contributing to IRTF this spring. We’ll put your gift to work right away to address long-standing structural injustices and bolster our across-borders solidarity movement, uniting so many people like you who are passionate about our common goals of justice, of mutual care, of human rights…of dignity for all. Your generosity is critical to carrying out our vision of a world of peace in which all beings live with dignity and in mutual relationships of solidarity. Thank you.
June 24, 2021
Join Friends of the ATC on June 24th at 8pm ET to learn more about delegations to Nicaragua in 2021-2022!
May 28, 2021
Please see a summary of the six letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, El Salvador, and Honduras, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries. We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: -protect people living under threat -demand investigations into human rights crimes -bring human rights criminals to justice IRTF’s Rapid Response Network volunteers write letters in response to urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see https://www.irtfcleveland.org/content/rrn, or ask us to mail you hard copies.
May 16, 2021
Five thousand members of the Indigenous Tolupán community of Agalteca in Yoro Department are being threatened with eviction. Tolupán lands contain precious resources, such as mahogany forests, silver, and iron oxide. To seize those resources, those with economic interests carry out attempts at forcible evictions (some successful). As a consequence of government concessions to mining companies over the past eight years, Tolupán communities have experienced an increase in evictions, as well as destruction of their land and waterways. Those who resist outside encroachment on their ancestral territories suffer attacks, murders, and judicial harassment. Over the past twenty years, forty Tolupán community members have been murdered.
May 12, 2021
National Police (and suspected military personnel as well) are waging armed violence against members of the Tolupán indigenous community of San Francisco de Locomapa in Yoro Department. On May 5, National Police fired on their encampment (Campamento Digno por la Defensa del Bosque y el Territorio Tolupán) that was set up to protect a pine forest against illegal logging. Norma Yackelin Ávila suffered a gunshot. We are unsure how many others might have been wounded.
May 11, 2021
A man was approached by unknown persons on the streets of the Garífuna community Nueva Armenia and threatened: “if you do not want to die, stop hanging around Mabel Robledo, because we have already been authorized them to kill her." A half-hour earlier, an unknown individual entered Mabel Robledo's place of business and threatened: “…we are going to kill you.” This occurred after Mabel Robledo denounced before local and national officials the appropriation of ancestral Garífuna territories by palm growers and the extraction of sand from the Papaloteca River by drug traffickers.
May 7, 2021
On April 2, INDEPAZ (Instituto de Estudios para el Desarrollo de la Paz) documented the 24th massacre of 2021. The three victims in La Pata, Huila Department, belonged to the same family: 55-year-old Luis Eliber Quintero Trujillo and his sons, 32-year-old Ricardo and 29-year-old Luis. By April 26, the 32nd massacre was recorded. It occurred in the rural area of Sonsón, Antioquia Department, where paramilitary groups have recently intensified their activities, particularly around control of illegal mining operations. Three people were shot dead at 9:40pm on Sunday night, April 25. The victims were Yulieth Natalia Díaz Carmona (age 23), Julián Vanegas Marulanda (age 26), and Michel Daiana Sánchez (age 13).
April 29, 2021
In Quiché Department, Indigenous journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz faces up to 12 years in prison on trumped up charges following an arrest in August 2020 while reporting on an Indigenous-led protest against a local mayor’s alleged corruption in distribution of COVID-19 assistance. Her trial has been delayed multiple times. We believe that the judicial delays and continued obstacles to Anastasia Mejía’s reporting are attempts to silence the voices of Indigenous peoples, to conceal information on corruption and human rights abuses, and to generate fear among communities. This is the third letter we have written regarding the journalist’s false criminalization since September 2020.
April 28, 2021
To protect the autonomy and ancestral culture of the Nasa Indigenous Peoples, local governor Sandra Liliana Peña Chocué rejected pressures from illegal armed groups who promote the expansion of illicit crops, illegal mining, and drug trafficking. She reported to the authorities that she was receiving threats from illegal groups that exercise territorial control in Cauca Department. They didn't like that she was so outspoken against the increase in illicit crop cultivation in the La Laguna-Siberia Indigenous reserve. On April 20, four unidentified armed men violently abducted her from her home and shot her. She died on the way to the hospital.
April 20, 2021
The jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all the counts he faced over the death of George Floyd. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases in recent memory, setting off a national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism even before the trial commenced.