Take action to pressure the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and U.S. State Department to take steps to recognize the importance of, and support the role of human rights accompaniers in Honduras, including Witness for Peace (WFP).
On July 25th, 2013, French citizen Orlane Vidal and Swiss citizen Daniel Langmeier, both international human rights accompaniers with the Honduran International Accompaniment Project (PROAH), were kidnapped and threatened for two and a half hours by armed guards of the mining operations of Minerales Victoria, in the community of Nueva Esperanza, Atlántida Department, Honduras. Vidal and Langmeier had met the previous day with members of Nueva Esperanza to discuss protection issues and international accompaniment for the community, which has been protesting Minerales Victoria's operations in the community. Armed men had been present in Nueva Esperanza for nearly two months prior to this kidnapping, terrorizing the community for resisting the mining activities. There has been no response from Honduran authorities and U.S. diplomatic officials, and armed men continue to be present in the community.
Next week, a 30th anniversary WFP delegation will travel to Honduras to accompany human rights defenders in various areas of the country. Delegates will document threats and violence against human rights defenders by U.S.-funded state security forces. Accompaniment of human rights defenders is a major part of WFP's work in Honduras. Tell the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and the State Department that they must be vocal in support of human rights accompaniers in Honduras, and take steps to ensure that the work of accompaniers is not undermined. If the U.S. government consistently and substantively expresses support for human rights, accompaniment has a better chance of being effective.
Thank you for standing up for human rights accompaniment in Honduras!
The Witness for Peace Honduras/Nicaragua Team and Walker Grooms, National Grassroots Organizer