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Honduras: Tourism company Carivida files defamation lawsuits against Garifuna leaders defending ancestral land

The tourism & hospitality company, Carivida, filed defamation lawsuits against 4 Garifuna leaders part of the Fraternal Garifuna, Black Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH. For years, the Garifuna communities have been defending their ancestral land rights from tourism companies.

 Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Carivida to respond; the response is available here. 

Guanaja_Honduras_Credit_Denise_Clarke_large

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Company response
29 August 2017

Carivida response

Author: Carivida

…Carivida recognizes that its business activities have an impact on the local communities. Carivida strives to reconcile its commercial objectives with the long-term imperatives of sustainable growth, social prosperity, and well-being. In October 2016, a group of locals, armed with machetes, entered one of Carivida’s private properties without authorization, and without prior communication surrounding such intentions. Since then, Carivida has followed its prescribed legal recourse and will continue to act within its legal rights in order to find a fair resolution. As a result of Carivida defending its rights to its private property, which was purchased in 2013 and peacefully possessed for three years, some of those involved in this case have resorted to propaganda as an attempt to gain support. This propaganda has included unfounded slander against Carivida and its General Manager, Patrick Forseth. Therefore, Carivida has respectfully responded through the Honduran legal system to find a fair resolution…

Download the full document here

Article
9 August 2017

Canadian Businessman Patrick Forseth (of the Carivida Villas company) Files Criminal Charges Against Miriam Miranda (OFRANEH) and other Indigenous Garifuna Leaders

Author: Dina Meza (translated for Rights Action by Lori Berenson)

Once again, the Honduran criminal law system is being used against community defenders, with complaints of defamation and slander lodged against the Indigenous Garifuna community defenders Miriam Miranda (coordinator of the Fraternal Garifuna, Black Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH), and Madeline Martina David, Neny Heidy Ávila and Lety Hernández from the Guadalupe Community in Trujillo, Colón, Honduras…Criminal complaint have been filed against each of them by the Canadian businessman Patrick Daniel Forseth…Forseth’s complains that “for a long time, they [the Indigenous Garifuna people who have lived in this region since the late 1700s] have been publishing in different media outlets, websites, social media etc. actions and situations that are completely false…they mentioned that I stole the lands from members of the Garifuna community in Guadalupe, using trickery, forceful action and death threats. These false accusations have damaged and denigrated both my image and reputation and that of the company that I represent, Caravida”…

Read the full post here