In brief

Indigenous organisation calls on new Honduran government to protect life, culture, autonomy of communities

COPINH demands investigation into 2016 murder of Berta Cáceres

COPINH unveils eight-point proposal.
COPINH unveils eight-point proposal. Author: COPINH
The main organisation of the Lenca people of Honduras has called on the new government of Xiomara Castro to recognise Indigenous traditional institutions and their autonomy, and has demanded a “comprehensive state policy” to protect the life and culture of the communities.

The demands are part of an eight-point proposal that the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH) made public this week so that the “historically outraged and invisibilised peoples” of the Central American republic are taken into account by the new cabinet.

7% to 8% of the Honduran population, according to various official censuses, belong to an Indigenous people (mostly Lenca) or to the Garifuna.

Castro won the Honduran presidential election on 28 November 2021 as Libre party’s candidate. Her election marked the first time that the candidate of a socialist party won the country’s presidency, as well as the first time that a woman was elected to the post. Casto will take office on 27 January.

COPINH’s proposal, among other measures, calls for the Honduran state to recognise “the historical ancestral possession of the lands of Indigenous communities”, to respect the right to prior consultation on actions to take place in their territories, and “the elimination of mining, hydroelectric, and logging concessions throughout the Lenca region.”

The document also calls for the creation of an international roundtable to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the murder of COPINH activist Berta Cáceres in 2016.

According to United Nations data, four Indigenous leaders are murdered every month in Latin American countries. One of the most recent cases, in Honduras, was the murder of Lenca leader Pablo Isabel Hernández on 9 January.