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Defending Human Rights
By Shannon Duncan Bodwell
October 6th, 2015
“In the end we succeeded. But it cost us six years in jail, and five of my colleagues were assassinated. However we are still here, working, and pushing forward,” said Alfredo Lopez.
Alfredo, a well-known and respected community leader, is the vice-president of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), a partner of Grassroots International. OFRANEH organizes with indigenous, Afro-descendant Hondurans (known as Garifunas), whose ancestral territory contains some of the most breathtaking and fertile areas along the Atlantic coast of Honduras.
By Samira Jubis
September 25th, 2015
The fate of the Garifuna people of Honduras hangs in the balance as they face a Honduran state that is all too eager to accommodate the neoliberal agenda of U.S. and Canadian investors. The current economic development strategy of the Honduran government, in the aftermath of the 2009 coup against the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, has not only benefited the political and economic elite in Honduras, but it has also encouraged the usurpation of some of the territories of indigenous peoples of this Central American nation. The often-violent expropriation of indigenous land threatens the Garifuna’s subsistence.
Scores of people – showing a great diversity of races, ages and backgrounds – packed into the room to look together at the connections between climate justice and Black Lives Matter, and how these movements present themselves in the experiences of Haiti, New Orleans and elsewhere. More people spilled out into the hallway, illustrating how ready people were to hear the powerful words coming from inside: everyone matters and has a role in the struggle for human rights and the survival of the planet.
In this moment when it is vital to assert that Black lives matter, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance honors Black and Afro-Indigenous farmers, fishermen, and stewards of ancestral lands and water with the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize.
The two prize winners are the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the U.S., and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). The prizes will be presented in Des Moines on October 14, 2015.
The award honors both groups as a vital part of food chain workers, who together are creating food sovereignty, meaning a world with healthy, ecologically produced food, and democratic control over food systems.
The Women’s Commission of the Via Campesina has a poster of Margarita Murillo. A family farmer and member of the Women’s Commission, Margarita was killed last year after many years of receiving death threats for her leadership in defending land rights.
One year ago today, the 51-day campaign of bombing, tank fire and all-out destruction by the Israeli military on Gaza finally ended. The 51 days of darkness euphemistically dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” were the third and most deadly round in a series of violent assaults on Gaza.
It is truly difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine life in Gaza, then and now, for the 1.8 million people who live there. First of all, there is the trauma.
“This is not about people who were killed, it is about us who were waiting for death every minute,” said Dr. Mona El-Farra to Grassroots International supporter and author Alice Rothschild during her recent visit to Gaza. Dr. El-Farra is the director of the Red Crescent Memorial Hospital that was bombed during the attacks.
A longtime partner of Grassroots International, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is the first member of LaVia Campesina from the Middle East. UAWC has received several awards for their work advancing sustainable agricultural development, including two last year: the US Food Sovereignty Prize and the United Nation’s Equator Prize.
Since 1994, August 9 has been dedicated as the UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The primary purpose of this commemorative day is to help promote and protect the rights of indigenous people around the world.
The United States occupation of Haiti, enforced by the U.S. Marines, officially began on July 28, 1915 after six months of military engagement ostensibly to protect their citizens from civil unrest at the time, and lasted until 1934. The occupation marked the end of Haiti’s long period of independence dating from the 1804 Haitian revolution against the French colonizers.
Over the last decade, thousands of community leaders received training at the Central American Training Center in Nicaragua. This center, run by our partner the Association of Rural Workers (ATC) enables the Via Campesina to offer extensive training to small-farmer leaders from throughout the region in agroecology and building powerful, democratic organizations.
In this video, Maria Jose Urbina, Coordinator of the National Women's Commission of the Via Campesina and the Association of Rural Workers, discusses her work with the ATC, and the importance of land rights for rural workers and women.