Santos Feliciano Aguilar Álvares was abducted, beaten and threatened with death on 5 June by up to 10 men, allegedly private security guards working for a local real estate company in San Juan. Santos Feliciano Aguilar Álvares is a member of the Afro-descendant Garífuna community of San Juan, Atlántida department, northern Honduras. A few hours before the incident, he had taken part in a community assembly attended by representatives of the local real estate company who he accused of pressuring Garífuna people to sell their land.
At around 9.30pm on 5 June, the unknown men surrounded Santos Feliciano Aguilar Álvares as he walked down a street in the outskirts of the San Juan village while on his way to carry out an errand. The group of men abducted him, took him to premises owned by the real estate company and beat him. While being held against his will, they accused Santos Aguilar of being "a spy for the leaders of Nuevo San Juan" The men intimidated Santos Aguilar by saying to each other "let’s kill him and bury him right here".
Santos Feliciano Aguilar Álvares was released shortly after the beating. The injuries he sustained required hospital treatment. Amnesty International believes that his safety and that of other members of the Garífuna community is at risk.
Using your own words, please write to the Minister of Security:
- expressing concern for the safety of Santos Feliciano Aguilar Álvares and other members of the Garífuna Community of San Juan;
- urging immediate steps to implement the protection measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to ensure the safety of the Garifuna community;
- calling for a swift, thorough, and impartial investigation of the threat and attack against Santos Aguilar, making the results public and bringing those responsible to justice
Minister of Security
Coronel (R) Jorge Alberto Rodas Gamero, Ministro de Seguridad Pública
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública
Cuartel Casa Mata
Fax: 011 504 220 1756
Salutation: Dear Minister / Estimado Sr. Ministro
Her Excellency Delia Beatriz Valle Marichal
Ambassador for the Republic of Honduras
151 Slater Street, Suite 805
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3
Fax: (613) 232-0193
Indigenous groups in Honduras, including the Afro-descendant Garífuna communities, have struggled for more than a decade to assert their right to the land they have inhabited for generations. Their land is coveted by companies seeking to build tourist resorts that would displace the Garífuna people. Members of the community have suffered threats and acts of intimidation linked to their struggle to protect their land rights. In March and June 2006 Jessica García, one of the Garífuna leaders, was harassed and threatened at gun point to sign over land belonging to the community. In November 2005 an arson attack destroyed the property of Wilfredo Guerrero, another of the Garífuna leaders. Three young members of the same community were killed in 2006. Police officers have been charged in connection with these killings.