Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General of Honduras
Lica. Karla Cueva, Secretary of State for Human Rights Affairs
September 12, 2021
Dear Attorney General Chinchilla and Secretary Cueva:
We are outraged to learn of another forced eviction of 44 families from the campesino communities “Hombres y mujeres de fe” (Men and Women of Faith) and “Unidos al campo” (United to the Field) in the Cañada de Flores sector of Guaimaca municipality in Francisco Morazán Department.
On August 18 in the afternoon, armed men (some wearing hoods) arrived in the community and, without presenting a legal eviction order, carried out a forced eviction. They kicked the doors of houses, entered some of the homes, and fired shots into the air to intimidate the families. It is understood that the armed men were private security guards of Maximiliano Elvir, who has been disputing ownership of the 391 blocks of land since 2014. Video footage uploaded to Facebook shows the destruction of families’ homes. Families, fearing for their lives, were forced to flee and hide.
The lands that these families inhabit have been designated as communal (ejido) and were settled by the campesino families starting in 2009. The families farm the land for subsistence purposes only (growing food, raising animals). We wrote to you on February 13 about a similar incident of forced eviction of these same families. After that incident, the National Central of Rural Workers (CNTC) initiated an investigation and pursued legal proceedings to repair the damages caused to the families’ property and the attempted denial of their right to provide for themselves an adequate means of subsistence.
We have not received a response from your government about the incident in February. Once again, we strongly urge that you
- investigate the violence waged against the families in Cañada de Flores on August 18, publish the results, and bring the perpetrators to justice
- instruct INA (Instituto Nacional Agrario) to investigate the legal titles of these disputed lands to establish true ownership/possession and make accommodations for the 44 families.
- safeguard the life and security of all citizens of Honduras through the execution of a comprehensive and inclusive agrarian policy that protects the most vulnerable
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martinez