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Honduras: Act now to support the rights of Afro-Indigenous Garífuna Communities


Afro-Indigenous Garífuna communities in Honduras are under attack.

November 7, 2022: To support the interests of foreign investors, Honduran police and military  violently evicted the Garífuna people in Punta Gorda from their ancestral lands in the island of Roatan. Established in 1797, Punta Gorda was the country’s first settlement of the Garífuna people who had escaped enslavement in the Caribbean.

December 14, 2022: Representative Cori Bush (MO-01) introduced a House Resolution “Affirming the importance of the survival of Garífuna culture and identity, condemning the violent and illegal appropriation of Garífuna territory and calling on the Government of Honduras, the Department of State and multilateral development banks to fully comply with the resolutions of multilateral human rights bodies which mandate the return of Garífuna land rights, and for other purposes.” Co-sponsors included Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Jesus “Chuy” García (IL-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), and Jamaal Bowman Ed.D. (NY-16). The resolution failed to leave the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Now it’s back: Rep. Bush, Omar, García, Bowman, and Schakowsky have reintroduced the resolution with increased urgency.

“Since we first introduced the resolution,” Congresswoman Bush explained in a press release, “the Garífuna people have continued to face systematic violations of their human rights. We have an obligation to put an end to this violence and oppression, advance policies that promote human rights, and speak up for Black and Indigenous communities in the United States and across the world. My colleagues and I proudly reintroduce this resolution.”


Who are the Garífuna?

The Garífuna people are an Afro-descendent and Afro-Indigenous group who have lived along the Caribbean coast of Honduras (also in coastal areas of Belize and Guatemala) for generations. Over the centuries, the Garífuna have faced relentless persecution, including violent land seizures and extrajudicial killings. Their struggle for acknowledgment, autonomy, and restitution aligns with the enduring historical struggle of Afro-descendants throughout the Americas.

The current crisis of violent displacement comes in the aftermath of the coup d’état in Honduras (June 28, 2009) that ousted the democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya. The political upheaval unleashed a wave of violence that continues to this day, affecting social movement activists and Indigenous leaders.

The Garífuna community’s right to their ancestral lands remains a contentious issue. The lack of formal recognition and protection has left the community vulnerable to ongoing threats and violence. For example, in July 2020, four young Garífuna leaders were abducted by men dressed in Honduran security forces uniforms. Rather than investigating these abductions, the attorney general of Honduras initiated criminal charges against leaders of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), an organization dedicated to defending the rights of the Garífuna and Indigenous peoples of Honduras.


House Resolution 1278 (H.Res.1278)

was introduced on June 5 by Rep. Cori Bush, with initial co-sponsors  Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Chuy García, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman. The resolution:

1) condemns the violence against the Garífuna people;

2)  calls for the full participation of an independent commission created by Garífuna communities to investigate the abduction of four Garifuna men in July 2020;

3)  urges cooperation between the U.S. government, Honduran government, international allies, and organizations to ensure compliance with the 2015 Inter-American Court ruling to restore land rights;

4)  compels the U.S. to use its influence within multilateral development banks to oppose projects that threaten Garifuna community rights and to advocate for reparations for affected communities.


What You Can Do

Help IRTF (and a broader coalition of Latin America solidarity organizations) to combat the violent evictions and persecution of the Garifuna people in Honduras and restore their land rights. We need your help to raise awareness about the criminalization of human rights organizations like OFRANEH defending Garífuna communities. In the face of relentless persecution and violence, the work of these organizations is vital for the Garifuna people’s survival.

Consider these three ways to support the fight against impunity and human rights violations in Honduras:

1) Contact your US congressperson:  Reach out to your congressional representatives and urge them to stand in solidarity with the Garífuna people of Honduras.

Find your representative here. If you call the office, ask for the email address of the foreign policy staffer who covers Latin America. Send a message directly to them, and follow up with a phone message.

Sample Script:

“Hello, I'm [YOUR NAME], a constituent from [CITY, STATE, ZIP CODE]. I'm deeply troubled by the recent attack on Afro-Indigenous rights in Honduras, specifically the killings, abductions, and forceful relocation of the Garífuna people. I urge that the congressperson co-sponsor H.Res. 1278: Affirming the importance of the survival of Garífuna culture and identity, condemning the violent and illegal appropriation of Garífuna territory. Please stand with the Garífuna people of Honduras against these egregious violations of their rights. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.”

2) Tweet your support: Utilize social media platforms such as Twitter/X to express solidarity with the Garífuna people of Honduras and support the passage of H.Res. 1278. Tag relevant officials and the organizations found below to raise awareness and demand accountability.

Government of Honduras: @GobiernoHN

Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH): @ofraneh

Miriam Miranda, director of OFRANEH: @baraudawaguchu

Honduras Solidarity Network @hondurassol

Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective @WitnessForPeace

InterReligious Task Force on Central America & Colombia @irtfcleveland


As always, include the Twitter/X handle of your U.S. congressperson (which you can find on their website)


Retweet our action alert and post this message on Twitter/X to show your support!

" @CoriBush has reintroduced a resolution to condemn violence against the #Garífuna people of #Honduras. I urge the passage of the resolution to protect #AfroIndigenousVoices. Read more about H.Res. 1278 "

3) Learn more: Take the time to educate yourself further about the history, culture, and rights of the Garífuna people through online resources, documentaries, and books. Share what you learn with friends and family. Read IRTF’s Rapid Response letters in support of Garífuna ancestral and territorial rights at . Add your name to these letters calling for investigations and accountability when urgent human rights situations arise each month. Inquire with .


For hope and solidarity,

InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia (with thanks to our friends at LAWG for drafting much of this urgent email message)