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Startseite Urgent Actions 2020 07 Indigenous human rights activists missing Indigenous activists still disappeared
FI 123/20-1
Aktiv seit 8. September 2020 | Noch 28 Tage Laufzeit

Indigenous activists still disappeared

AI-Index: AMR 37/3018/2020

Five individuals wearing Police Investigations Directorate (DPI) vests, took four Garífuna activists Alberth Centeno Tomas, President of the Board of Triunfo de la Cruz on behalf of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), Suami Mejía García, Gerardo Rochez Cálix and Milton Martínez Álvarez, members of the OFRANEH, and a fifth person, Junior Juárez Mejía, from their homes on 18 July 2020. The Secretary of Security ordered a search operation, but they are still missing. We demand authorities to determine their whereabouts, ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation on their disappearance, and to bring those responsible before justice.


The Garifuna communities of Triunfo de la Cruz are part of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH), an organization that works to protect the economic, social, and cultural rights of the Garífuna communities. On 8 October 2015, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz, founding the Honduran state guilty of violating the right of the community to collective property. Already on 28 April 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted the community of Triunfo de la Cruz with precautionary measures, asking the government of Honduras to adopt the necessary measures to protect the right of the community to ownership of ancestral lands.

Since the start of a total curfew in Honduras on in March 2020, due to COVID-19, Amnesty International has received several reports of serious attacks against human rights defenders, including members of OFRANEH. According to the organization, on 20 April, police officers stifled a protest in Oak Ridge, Roatan island, demanding a boat not to dock at the local port for public health reasons, and on 6 May, police officers threatened a group of young Garifuna people guarding the community of Travesía, Cortés department, with dropping tear gas bombs. OFRANEH also denounced the killing of Edwin Fernández, a member of the organization, on 20 May in the community of Río Tinto, Atlántida department.

The Civic Council of Popular Indigenous (COPINH) also denounced recent attacks against its members. On 12 May, José Trochez, was detained by the Honduran army while he was doing humanitarian work. On 15 June, members of COPINH received information warning them about an imminent attack against its members and facilities. COPINH also reported that on 21 June, a group of around 60 people showed up in its Utopia facility in La Esperanza, Intibucá department, threatening to take over it. One day later, members of the organization received a digital leaflet in which an unknown group threatened the organization with burning the Utopia facility. These attacks occurred after the organization offered its facilities as an isolation center for people in prison infected with COVID-19.

Over the last four years, Amnesty International has alerted on threats, intimidation, harassment, and the killings of activists in Honduras, which is one of the deadliest countries in the world to be a human rights defender, including the case of the renowned defender Berta Cáceres in 2016. This situation has not changed. Between June and July 2020, Scarleth Cáceres, activist and defender of LGBTI rights from the Arcoíris Association; Marvin Damián Castro, defender of the territory of the municipality of Pespire, Choluteca and part of the coordination of the Movimiento Ambientalista Social del Sur por la Vida (MASSVIDA), and Yonis David Castillo Lázaro, from the community of Guapinol, were killed. Previously, on 2 April 2020, lris Argentina Álvarez, a land rights defender of the campesino group Cerro Escondido in southern Honduras, was killed during a violent eviction.

The Inter-American Convention on The Forced Disappearance of Persons defines an enforced disappearance as «the act of depriving a person or persons of his or their freedom, in whatever way, perpetrated by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of the state, followed by an absence of information or a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the whereabouts of that person, thereby impeding his or her recourse to the applicable legal remedies and procedural guarantees». Honduras ratified the convention in 2005. Honduras also ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2008, which defines an enforced disappearance similarly.


Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.
  • Please take action before 19 October 2020.
  • Preferred language: Spanish. You can also write in your own language.
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Model letter

Dear Secretary Julián Pacheco Tinoco,

I am extremely concerned about the enforced disappearance of the four Garífuna activists Alberth Snider Centeno Tomas, Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Gerardo Mizael Rochez Cálix and Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, members of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), and a fifth person, Junior Rafael Juárez Mejía, taken from their homes in the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la la Cruz by five individuals wearing DPI-like vests on 18 July 2020.

Despite a search operation carried out by the National police and an investigation started by the Public Prosecutors Office, their whereabouts remain unknown.

I urge you to adopt all the necessary measures to find Alberth Snider Centeno Tomas, Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Gerardo Mizael Rochez Cálix, Milton Joel Martínez Álvarez, and Junior Rafael Juárez Mejía, and ensure an independent, effective and impartial investigation into their enforced disappearance, bringing those responsible to justice.

Yours sincerely

Appeals to

Secretary Julián Pacheco Tinoco

Secretary of Security, Honduras
El Ocotal, Comayaguela, M.D.C.
antiguo Local de Academia de Policía (ANAPO)


Dear Secretary Julián Pacheco Tinoco,



Copies to

Ambassade de la République du Honduras
Avenue de France 23
1202 Genève

Fax: 022 / 710 07 66
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