Members of indigenous groups, along with supporters from Central America’s Occupy Movement (Los Indignados Movimiento), last month held a hunger strike outside of the Honduran presidential palace. They were protesting the government’s mistreatment of indigenous groups in the country, arguing that the Honduran government has failed to live up to its international obligations to protect indigenous members of Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) and their families – a total of 38 people. MADJ is a Honduran organization fighting corruption and the removal of natural resources.
Like many indigenous activists, members of the Broad Movement for Dignity and Justice (MADJ) have been the victims of constant harassment, threats and attacks, some of them losing their lives as a result. The Honduran government’s response to these abuses has been one of impunity and indifference.
The hunger strike, which lasted close to two months, was intended to galvanize support for a government overhaul which will oust corruption, rebuild state institutions, and establish a new governing body with a better human rights agenda for the country. According to the statement of one man on strike, he and his fellow protesters are demanding lasting, not cosmetic, changes in government.
In what has been named the most dangerous country in the world for environmental and land activists, women activists face a special threat in Honduras: rape and sexual violence. Honduran indigenous rights activist, Berta Cáceres has received numerous threats of rape and death for her environmental work. She says that many of her campaign followers have been killed for supporting the cause. In the face of all of this violence, Berta has managed to achieve a great deal in the fight to protect and improve indigenous lands. As a result of her work she has been awarded the 2015 Goldman Environmental Award.
Honduran State must protect indigenous Tolupan (article in Spanish), CEJIL, 13 July 2015.
Honduran indigenous rights campaigner wins Goldman prize, The Guardian, 19 April 2015.
Honduras : The movement of the indignant march against government corruption, (article in Spanish) RT News, 19 July 2015.