International Gathering for Human Rights in Solidarity with Honduras Print
Laura Jung, of the Washington DC SOA WATCH office joined over a thousand representatives from around the world in expressing solidarity with the people of Honduras at the International Gathering for Human Rights in Solidarity with Honduras from February 16-20, 2012. Below she shares highlights of the gathering, and the complete report can be found at

The objectives of the Encuentro were:

1. To make evident the continuity of the Coup d'├ętat in Honduras and its expression throughout the institutional apparatus responsible for the impunity and the worsening state violence.

2. To strengthen the solidarity and fraternal links between struggles and peoples of the world, regarding common action to confront the grave situation of Human Rights violations in Honduras.

3. To make visible and denounce the situation of human rights violations in Honduras, especially in the Bajo Aguan.

4. To understand the links between militarization, transnationalization, the struggle for land, and the violation of human rights in the region and in the country.

Many different groups from within the Honduran Resistance attended. There were numerous women's groups, COPINH, labor and agrarian unions, representatives from OFRANEH, and dozens of independent radio and newspaper journalists from various community and web-based radios or underground print media. Each of these groups and communities converged on the Froylan Turcios Center with their own agendas, but with common goals in mind. Those goals included sharing their own stories and experiences, coming together within their own groups and not just reaching out to, but connecting with other similar groups to meet the objectives of the weekend's meeting, and really the objectives of the Resistance.

The diverse agendas were welcome and all made earnest efforts to connect with other agendas in a few important ways that transcend any critical fractures within the movement. There is a realization that various groups working on different, but related projects, will always have their own agendas, but that it is still critical that these groups come together and work together for the same broad cause that affects all Hondurans. It is essential, for example, for women's groups and COPINH to work together because many of their respective issues are the effect of the same causes. The same goes for COPINH and OFRANEH, or MUCA, MSA, or any of the numerous campesino movements alive in Honduras. While these groups in particular are often portrayed as antagonistic toward one another as a result of vying for similar things, or sometimes the same lands, the reality is these groups are in the same situation as a result of the same causes, actors, and state-sponsored aggressions plaguing their lives.

There is an important lesson for the movements in the US to learn from this, that it is essential that we come together as a unified front to make the connections between our seemingly separate movements and move the broader issues forward. That means releasing our stranglehold on control and concentrating on weaving our "distinct," yet somehow similar movements into a tight web of interaction and collaboration. Take for example SOA Watch, CISPES, GHRC, NSC, and the numerous other movements that concentrate on state and military abuses in throughout Central in South America. All of the issues in their "focus" countries come back to the same causes. US Foreign Policy that supports and encourages state-sponsored violence, and militarization designed to foment foreign business projects and force the public to fall in line with these objectives or die.

To that end, one of the most important notions that the Encuentro in Honduras sought to illuminate was that what is happening in the Bajo Aguan, and indeed the rest of Honduras, is not unique to Honduras. In fact, it is happening all over the world. There were at least 18 countries represented from Uruguay to Norway. (There were delegations in attendance from Cuba, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Basque Country, Germany, EEUU, and Canada.) The presence of these delegations was not only to show solidarity with Honduras and the people enduring state brutality in the Bajo Aguan, but also to recognize and shine a light on the fact militarization is a - growing - international concern.