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Mar-24-2013 15:02printcomments

Ensure Safety of Human Rights Defenders Mr Yoni Rivas and Mr Vitalino Alvarez

The three peasant leaders believe this incident was an attempt to kill them as a result of their defence of the rights of peasant farmers in the region.

Mr Yoni Rivas
Mr Yoni Rivas

(YORK, UK) - Honduras Human Rights activists are being targeted in for their advocacy of peasants' land rights.

Yoni Rivas, Vitalino Alvarez, and Juan Chinchilla of MUCA, Movimiento Unificado Campesino Del Aguan (Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region), along with their driver, Leonel Cruz, narrowly escaped being caught by a number of armed men who they believe, intended to kill them at a roadside hotel.

MUCA campaigns for the land rights of peasant farmers amid ongoing disputes over land ownership in the region of Honduras known as Bajo Aguán, in the Northern departments of Colón and Yoro.

On 19 March 2013, two of the two human rights defenders reported to the Comité de Familiares Detenidos-Desaparecidos de Honduras – COFADEH (Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras) about what they feared was a failed assassination plot against them, which occurred on 12 March 2013.

Mr. William Gomes calls on S.E. Presidente Porfirio Lobo Sosa to Immediately take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological safety and integrity of Yoni Rivas, Vitalino Alvarez, Juan Chinchilla and all members of MUCA...


S.E. Presidente Porfirio Lobo Sosa
Oficina del Presidente
Casa Presidencial
Blvd Juan Pablo II
Tegucigalpa
Honduras
Email: ministerio@sdp.gob.hn

Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I came to know about the situation from Front Line - The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

On 19 March 2013, Front Line Defenders learned of an incident related to human rights defenders and peasant leaders Messrs Yoni Rivas and Vitalino Alvarez, leaders of Movimiento Campesino Unificado del Aguán – MUCA (Aguán’s Unified Peasant Movement).

MUCA campaigns for the land rights of peasant farmers amid ongoing disputes over land ownership in the region of Honduras known as Bajo Aguán, in the Northern departments of Colón and Yoro.

On 19 March 2013, the two human rights defenders reported to the Comité de Familiares Detenidos-Desaparecidos de Honduras – COFADEH (Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras) about what they feared was a failed assassination plot against them, which occurred on 12 March 2013.

On 11 March 2013, Yoni Rivas and Vitalino Alvarez, accompanied by another member of MUCA, Mr Juan Chinchilla, and driver Mr Leonel Cruz, travelled from Bajo Aguán to the city of Siguatepeque to attend a meeting the following day. When the human rights defenders were driving past La Masica, department of Atlántida, they were stopped by police officers who asked them to open the windows of their vehicle, while one of the police officers checked the interior of the vehicle. Later that same day, as the human rights defenders were driving past the community of San Juan Pueblo, their vehicle was again stopped at another police roadblock. This time they were asked to park on the side of the road while police conducted an extensive search on the vehicle and on the human rights defenders’ belongings.

The human rights defenders and driver stopped in a hotel on the way. While the driver Leonel Cruz stayed there, Yoni Rivas, Vitalino Alvarez and Juan Chinchilla took a bus to Siguatepeque where they were attending a meeting. On 12 March 2013, at approximately 3.30 a.m., heavily armed men driving a pick-up truck entered the hotel, asking for the three peasant leaders and were informed by the receptionist that they had just left. The armed men then left the hotel, heading in the same direction taken by the human rights defenders but did not find them.

The three peasant leaders believe this incident was an attempt to kill them as a result of their defence of the rights of peasant farmers in the region. COFADEH reported the incident to the Attorney General’s Special Office for Human Rights on 20 March 2013.

I William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com share concern for the safety of Yoni Rivas, Vitalino Alvarez and Juan Chinchilla, and I believe that the incident is directly related to their affiliation to MUCA and their work in the defence of human rights, in particular their campaigning for land rights of peasant farmers in Bajo Aguán.

Immediately take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological safety and integrity of Yoni Rivas, Vitalino Alvarez, Juan Chinchilla and all members of MUCA, with a view to effectively meeting their protection needs; 2. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Honduras are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

Yours Sincerely,

William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
www.williamnichoalsgomes.com

Donate to Support William's Human Rights Stories; donate through PayPal

Donate to: williamgomes.org@gmail.com

______________________________

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

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