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28 Nov 2023

OFRANEH (Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras) receives 2023 Human Rights and Business Award

OFRANEH meeting to raise awareness about the defense of human rights and the need to continue the struggle for survival of the Garífuna people

The Business and Human Rights Award Foundation has named OFRANEH (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña / Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras) as recipient of the 2023 Human Rights and Business Award, which recognizes “outstanding work by human rights defenders addressing the human rights impacts of business”.

OFRANEH, founded in 1979, defends the human rights of indigenous Garífuna communities in Honduras, seeks to guarantee their survival as a differentiated culture, and defends their ancestral lands against land grabs by the private sector. OFRANEH is female led and takes a strong antiracist approach. Against a background of violence and a weak state, OFRANEH’s work includes defending the self-determination and traditional ways of life of the Garífuna; protecting their economic, social and cultural rights; and preventing displacement.

In the words of Miriam Miranda, the elected General Coordinator of OFRANEH: “The Garífuna are being forcibly displaced from our beautiful traditional lands along the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Our livelihoods are threatened by the expansion of the global tourist industry, African palm plantations, so-called “Special Economic Development and Employment Zones” (also called Model Cities), and drug cartels that run cocaine through our territories…We’re also under threat from gated retirement communities with U.S. and Canadian financing, as well as mining and hydroelectric projects, including projects with development bank financing.”

OFRANEH members have been harassed, threatened, beaten, kidnapped and killed, often as a result of defending their land amidst land grabbing and territorial disputes. OFRANEH reports that rights violations and threats they have experienced are due to the process of illegal occupation of Garífuna territories by third parties that operate with the support of the Honduran state.