Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (18 December) on the attack against a human rights defender of the indigenous Garifuna people in Honduras:
I was profoundly shocked and saddened to learn that on 10 December 2019 yet another attack was perpetrated against a human rights defender of the indigenous Garifuna people in Honduras, this time against Amada López. One person was injured when shots were fired at her house in her home town. This year, several members of the Garifuna community, many of them women, have been killed. Other Garifuna are being persecuted and threatened.
These murders of members of the Garifuna people must be fully investigated, and strict action must be taken against the intimidation attempts. I therefore call on the Honduran authorities to immediately initiate investigations and prosecute the perpetrators. Moreover, appropriate protective measures must be agreed and taken, in coordination with the affected communities.
The ONAFREH organisation, to which Amada López belongs, is fighting against repeated attempts by other settlers to appropriate territories along the Caribbean coast of Honduras to which the Garifuna communities living there are traditionally entitled. In the course of the second round of the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, Honduras made voluntary commitments that included protecting both the indigenous people and their territories.
ONAFREH is an important civil-society organisation in Honduras. On 27 November 2019, Miriam Miranda, the Coordinator of OFRANEH, was presented with the 2019 Human Rights Award of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation for her longstanding commitment to the rights of indigenous people and women, and to environmental protection.