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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 05:39 PM

Journalists and human rights defenders stigmatized for covering land conflicts

Journalists and human rights defenders stigmatized for covering land conflicts
Published on Thursday 21 February 2013.

The Honduran Committee of Families of Disappeared Detainees (COFADEH) has told Reporters Without Borders that grave allegations were levelled against journalists, human rights defenders and civil society activists on 18 February by the head of the Xatruch Joint Intervention Force operating in Bajo Aguán, a militarized region in the northeastern department of Colón.

Reporters Without Borders regards these accusations as a clear attempt to intimidate and censor, and fears for the lives of all those involved in providing information about this region at a particularly dangerous time.

Speaking at a news conference, Xatruch Intervention Force commander Col. Germán Alfaro Escalante (photo) accused four people by name of “denigrating the actions of the armed forces” and of “besmirching the image of the Honduran nation.”

Those named were Marvin Palacios, a journalist and COFADEH member; Wilfredo Paz, a spokesman for the Aguán Permanent International Human Rights Monitoring Unit; and Vitalino Alvarez and Yony Rivas, leaders of the Aguán United Peasant Movement (MUCA) and announcers on local community radio stations.


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