Antonio Bernández Suazo

On 19 June, 2020, the body of Antonio Bernárdez Suaza was found near the village of Río Miel In Colón, Honduras.

Seventy-one year old Bernárdez Suaza was a member of the Comité de Defensa de Tierra  of the Garífuna community in Punta Piedra and had been forcibly disappeared 6 days previously.

There has been an ongoing conflict in the area since 1992 when a group of peasants, organised by General Castro Kabus, invaded the territory and seized land belonging to the Garífuna community.

The case of Punta Piedra has been raised repeatedly in the Interamerican human rights system and in 2015 the Interamerican Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of the Garífuna community. However, this ruling has been ignored by the Honduran state.

The Garífuna community has repeatedly called on the government of Honduras to relocate the peasants who have established a community in Rio Miel, using it as a base from which to harass and attack the Garífuna community. To date nothing has been done by the state to end the cycle of violence.

In 2003, another Garífuna leader, Bonifacio Ordoñez was murdered in the area. Despite the time that has elapsed and despite the existence of a named suspect the state has only carried out the most basic of investigations.

The root of the conflict lies in the absence of any definitive register of land titles or any legislative framework for the protection of indigenous peoples in Honduras.

The murder of Bernárdez Sauza is a reminder of the state’s failure to take any meaningful action to protect the rights of the Garifuna community in the face of ongoing attacks.




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Date of Killing:19/06/2020

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Comunidad de punta piedra

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Afro Descendant Rights, Citizens' rights, Land Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

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