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The Regional Agrarian Platform of Valle del Aguán, Honduras, denounced on Monday afternoon the murder of Alan Reyneri Martínez Pérez (19) and Manuel Milla (25), members of the “Gregorio Chávez” Peasant Project of Panamá Community, Trujillo, Colón, before the eyes of many children who were watching a football match.
This happened at 4pm when Denis Mejía, who visited the community two or three times per week, approached the leaders and without any words started shooting at them. After doing this, he run to Finca Paso Aguan, a property of Corporación Dinant. The young people were transferred to Tocoa´s Hospital, but one of them died on the way, and the other one died at the hospital.
According to Jaime Cabrera, also member of the “Gregorio Chávez” Project and coordinator of the Regional Agrarian Platform of Aguan: “Denis Mejía, together with other people wearing hoods visited the community many times, supervising the houses of Santos Torrez, Glenda Chávez, me and other community leaders”.
The “Gregorio Chávez” Peasant Project started in 2012, when its leader, Gregorio Chávez was murdered. “Goyo”, as they called him, was a religious leader and defender of the right to land, and was killed at Finca Paso Aguán, guarded by private security guards of oil palm producer Miguel Facussé.
In response to this, the population decided to recover the lands, since this was not the first murder there, but they were violently evicted once and again and for a year now, the lands have remained under the custody of private and military guards surrounding the region.
Fifteen days ago, the two young men started to recover a piece of land next to the community, which is occupied by 123 families.
The lands belong to Panama cooperative, but were taken away. Alan Martínez was the brother of Cristian Martínez, kidnapped in January 2015 by security guards of Corporación Dinant (of the Facussé family) together with members of the Xatruch operation who have been guarding Finca Paso Aguán for years. It is worth mentioning that guards of company COFRUCO shot a young man last month, also member of the Gregorio Chávez Project.
Manuel Milla was the coordinator of the recovery group called “Colonia 26 de mayo” in Trujillo municipality. Over 129 peasants were murdered over land conflicts in Valle del Aguán since 2009.
Finally, the organizations member of the Agrarian Platform of Aguan are demanding the Public ministry to punish those responsible for the vicious murder of the two young peasants who fought till their last day for their rights to access land.
In parallel to this, also in Honduras, the Articulation of Women of La Via Campesina has analyzed and exposed the situation of defenselessness of land rights defenders, especially women defenders.
Peasant, Garifuna, and Lenca indigenous women are the most affected by the impunity of agribusinesses and businessmen.
“In the context of the peasant struggle and as human rights defenders we denounce that 3 percent of landowners own over 70% of arable lands, contrary to the 7 out of 10 peasants who don´t have lands to live in and produce on”.
According to the Global Impunity Index (IGI) 2015, Honduras is one of the seven countries in the world with the highest impunity levels, and not much is done to reverse this situation.
The measures applied in Honduras in the past years in terms of investigation are not enough, since the wide majority of cases are not even investigated and 96% of those which get to trial are left unpunished.
In the past three years, 120 peasants were murdered in the Honduran countryside, among them 5 indigenous and peasant women. In March this year, Berta Cáceres, Lenca leader of Intibucá and the Gualcarque River was murdered. This crime remains unpunished.
Meanwhile, there are over 6000 people prosecuted at national level, among them 1700 peasant and indigenous leaders, for demanding and defending their right to land and the territory, stated the articulation of women of La Vía Campesina Honduras.
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