On March 13th and 14th Honduran activists Consuelo Soto, environmental defender and leader of the indigenous tribe Tolupán, and Pedro Landa, researcher, human rights defender and member of ERIC-Radio Progreso, visited Madrid. This visit took place within the framework of the intense advocacy and media work carried out by ALBOAN and Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría Spain regarding the political and social crisis that Honduras is facing following the elections held on the November 26, 2017.
ALBOAN and Entreculturas organized different meetings with political representatives to denounce, with first-hand information, the serious violations of human rights which are currently taking place in Honduras with the objective of building support from institutions and Spanish society.
Pedro Landa told members of Congress and senators about the democratic crisis which is building up in Honduras since the coup d´état in 2009 and which led to the reelection of president Juan Orlando Hernández after elections held in December last year. In addition, he denounced the brutality of the police and other serious violations of human rights that took place during the peaceful demonstrations in the post-electoral period. To this end, he referred to the recent report issued on March 12th by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations in Honduras documenting at least 22 civilian deaths during the post-electoral period, of which 16 were violent deaths caused by shots fired by security forces.
Consuelo Soto denounced the activity of the extractive industries in Honduras, which carry out their projects without the consent of local communities and which provoke great harm to the populations and the environment. She also reported her tough personal experience as a land rights defender in Honduras: “I believe that all human beings deserve to be respected. They killed my husband and everything remains in impunity. After that, I had to flee for my life, but I continue to defend the earth. My people are fighting and I will continue to do the same”.
Landa and Soto had the chance to meet with representatives from the Human Rights Office and the International Cooperation Directors of Latin America and the Caribbean of AECID (Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Consuelo Soto y Pedro Landa ended their visit with an internal conference directed to the staff and volunteers of Entreculturas and with interviews with the press.
This visit forms part of actions that Jesuit and ignatian-inspired institutions from around the world, such as the Latin American Conference of Provincials, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S., Fe y Alegría, the Xavier Network, Ignatian Solidarity Network, among others are carrying out in solidarity with the people of Honduras.