Honduras: One year after the disappearance of four Garífuna defenders, who struggled for their territory and culture against companies, impunity persists
On July 18, 2020, a group of 30 heavily armed men wearing uniforms bearing the initials of the Honduran Police Investigation Directorate (DPI), burst into the Garifuna community of El Triunfo de la Cruz and took four defenders of the cultural and territorial rights of the Garifuna people and members of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) aboard three vehicles: Alberth Sneider Centeno, Suami Aparicio Mejía García, Joel Martínez Álvarez and Gerardo Misael Tróchez. One year later, the defenders remain missing. In September 2020, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the State to investigate and find the four defenders. Through a public letter addressed to the highest authorities of the Honduran State and international human rights bodies, OFRANEH and more than two hundred human rights organizations from the Americas and Europe, demanded the incorporation of the Committee for the Investigation and Search for the Disappeared of Triunfo de la Cruz (SUNLA) into the investigation and search process in June 2021. On March 26, 2021, the State of Honduras had already denied, through the Attorney General's Office, the incorporation of SUNLA in the investigations. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH) published a note calling for the cessation of all forms of harassment - including at the judicial level - against those who defend the rights of the Garífuna people.