Women human rights defenders

Gilda Rivera, a member of Las Petateras and a JASS partner, was honored on October 13 for her organization’s work as a member the Honduran Human Rights Platform. The Center for Women’s Rights and the other members of the Platform are fighting to restore democracy in Honduras and document and denounce a pattern of serious human rights abuses and impunity in the wake of the coup d’état in that country in June of 2009.
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JASS Mesoamerica Team + Feminist in Resistance, Tegucigalpa, Honduras Ever since I can remember, my country has had democratic governments. That is, until now. We have always been told that democracy is the way to achieve fairness and social justice. And I believe that. I always thought that coup d’états existed just as a dark part of our history. Actually, to be quite honest, I never spent a great deal of time thinking about this. But now I realize: we do have to think about and learn from that past.
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Since the coup d’etat, Honduras has suffered many blows. The military has maintained its power, in ways both visible and invisible and brought a wave of threats and death into our lives.We live in fear here everyday thinking in a series of ‘what ifs’: ‘What if they invade the Zacate Grande neighborhood again?’ ‘What if they militarize the Aguan region?’; ‘What if they murder another journalist?’; ‘What if one of our friends turns up dead?’; ‘What if I’m next on the list?’
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Article published by Hoduran Feminists in Resistance on the attacks on teachers by Honduran military and police forces in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on August 27 – 8.
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On June 30, Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice fully exonerated 12 community land rights activists from San Salvador Atenco, Mexico, each of whom had previously been sentenced to between 31 and 112 years in prison for crimes allegedly committed during clashes with the Mexican government in 2006.
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“It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.” - Major-General Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray reflects on the recent International Gender Justice Dialogue
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Women human rights defenders often suffer threats, intimidation and even death for their work. The rising security crisis in Mesoamerica and the deterioration of State institutions have left women human rights defenders in the region unprotected and under threat. JASS and its partners convened a three-day meeting in Oaxaca, Mexico from April 23 – 25, 2010. Nearly 60 women human rights defenders gathered to analyze and develop more effective strategies to respond and protect themselves.
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Hondurans inaugurated a new president on January 27, following last November’s controversial elections. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is pushing the de facto president, who assumed office following last year’s coup, to resign, and for implementation of the Tegucigalpa/San José Accord.
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In May 2006, Mexican police responded with violence to protests in the town of San Salvador Atenco, killing two people, injuring many more, and indiscriminately detaining town residents, as well as other bystanders not involved in the confrontation. Of the hundreds detained, at least 45 were women, many of whom were beaten, raped, and otherwise assaulted by police while in state custody.
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