Date Issued: July 6, 2006 – An Afro-descendent community leader in Honduras, Jessica García, was forced at gunpoint to sign a document surrendering land and rights to a powerful real estate company. After refusing to accept a bribe to endorse the document, a representative of the company threatened to kill Ms. Garcia, the leader of the San Juan Tela Patronato, which represents the interests of the San Juan Garífuna community, and to murder her children.
This incident is only the most recent in a series of mounting threats and violent attacks faced by the Garífuna community and their leaders over the last several years. Powerful business interests, who seek to benefit from developing Garífuna territory into major tourism projects, engage in intimidation and violence, with virtual impunity.
Following the murder of two Garífuna community members in San Juan earlier this year and violent attacks against the San Juan community by security guards working for the real estate company, Ms. García and other Garífuna leaders are in need of immediate protection.
Urge the government of Honduras to protect the safety of Garífuna rights activists and ensure that those responsible for violent threats and criminal attacks against peaceful community leaders are brought to justice.
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