On September 22, Peace Brigades International presented at the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
PBI’s Kim-Mai Stéphanie Vu stated:
“We welcome the reports of the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. We support the recommendations aimed at the approval of moratoriums on extractive projects that affect the territories of indigenous peoples during the recovery phase of COVID-19.
Coinciding with what is reported in its reports, PBI has observed a growing increase in the use of criminalization and preventive detention to hinder and discourage the defense of human rights, particularly affecting indigenous defenders.
It is the case of Víctor Vásquez Lenca indigenous defender of MILPAH, Honduras in preventive prison accused of crime of “forced displacement”, and of the Choreachi community, Mexico, which demands the ownership of their lands of 32,500 hectares before the Superior Agrarian Court since 1994 and that was stigmatized, criminalized and forcibly displaced in this process. In addition, we regret the murder of at least 9 indigenous people from the North Caribbean Coast, Nicaragua in August 2021.
Likewise, the 1614 cases of arrests of defenders, students, journalists and political opponents in Nicaragua between April 2018 and December 2020 according to IACHR report, and 37 from May 2021 to date, in the context of the human rights crisis.
In the same way, we regret the 2,854 arbitrary detentions registered in Colombia between August 2018 and September 2021 in the framework of social protests. They are also concerned about multiple complaints of runaway detentions in alleged forced disappearances that occurred in the last months during the “national strike”.
Likewise, the silence is worrisome as the response of some governments such as that of Honduras to the Opinions of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Given the recent extension of the preventive detention of the defenders of the Guapinol River, it is urgent that the government of Honduras adopt the measures recommended by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in its Opinion about the case.”
For a video of this presentation (in Spanish), please click here. To watch the presentation (with English translation), go to the 30:40 mark of the video here.