Sr. Juan Orlando Hernández
President of Honduras
Sr. Oscar Chinchilla Banegas
Attorney General of Honduras
May 23, 2016
We are writing to express our grave concern for Ana Mirian Romero and her children, who received death threats and were intimidated by four men in their home in the municipality of Santa Elena, Department of La Paz on May 9.
At approximately 4pm four men from the Potrero community, armed with machetes and a gun, entered their home. Ana Mirian Romero identified two of the men as persons who had threatened her before. This harassment followed a visit earlier in the day from a BBC Radio journalist and a Honduran journalist who recorded a radio documentary covering the story of her work as a human rights defender.
Ana Mirian Romero and her husband are members of the Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz (MILPAH) and the San Isidro Labrador Indigenous Council. Since 2010 they have been fighting for the recognition of the land rights of indigenous communities and have filed a lawsuit for the recognition of their ancestral lands in Santa Elena. Without prior consultation of the local indigenous community, the municipality issued a concession to the company Los Encinos S. de R.L. to construct a hydroelectric dam on the Chinacla River. Residents have serious concerns about the negative impact of the project on their access to water.
On November 24, 2015 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued precautionary measures in favor of Ana Mirian Romero and her family. This followed a beating attack at her home on October 22 when she was 24 weeks pregnant, and a shooting attack on her home on November 2, which was the day she was released from the hospital (cf our letter of Feb 22).
Because we believe these attacks are directly linked to the legitimate and peaceful work of human rights defenders and indigenous leaders, we strongly urge you to
- carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the intimidation and death threats against Ana Mirian Romero and her family, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
- take all necessary measures to guarantee the security of Ana Mirian Romero and her family members through the immediate implementation of the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
- guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez