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Afro-Descendant & Indigenous: News & Updates

News Article
In response to Attorney General Consuelo Porras’ dismissal of top anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Francisco Sandoval, the Biden administration has taken steps intended as a rebuke. On July 27 the administration announced it had “temporarily paused programmatic cooperation” with the Guatemalan Public Ministry. “Guatemalan Attorney General Consuelo Porras’ July 23rd decision to remove Special Prosecutor Against Impunity, or FECI, Chief Juan Francisco Sandoval fits a pattern of behavior that indicates a lack of commitment to the rule of law and independent judicial and prosecutorial processes,” according to the State Department’s spokesperson. “As a result, we have lost confidence in the attorney general and their decision and intention to cooperate with the US government and fight corruption in good faith.”
News Article
Roberto David Castillo – who was trained in the U.S. and was a former member of the Honduran army during a coup in 2009 – was convicted on July 5, 2021 of being a co-conspirator in the assassination of world renowned Indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres. On August 2, he will be sentenced, which could be between 24 and 30 years. In the US Congress, companion legislation being considered in the House and Senate would suspend support for the Honduran government until corruption and human rights abuses are no longer systemic. A separate bill in the House, HR 1574, the "Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act," would stop U.S. assistance to the Honduran police or military. "Berta was of the generation that understood profoundly what militarization did. The bill really speaks to her legacy and efforts to end militarization and funding for the military," said Suyapa Portillo Villeda, a Honduran historian and associate professor at Pitzer College.
News Article
Please see a summary of the letters we sent to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, Guatemala, 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: (1) protect people living under threat, (2) demand investigations into human rights crimes, and (3) bring human rights criminals to justice. IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) volunteers write six 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 on 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.

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