The Attempts to disappear Garifuna people

Maradiaga, Héctor; Ávila, Jennifer
Date Written:  2016-07-18
Publisher:  Latinamerica Press
Year Published:  2016
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX19806

Development projects pushed by the government in the Atlantic coast threaten the survival of afro-descendant communities.



The first Africans settled in the Atlantic coast of Honduras some 219 years ago after their displacement from the island of Saint Vincent where they had been taken by Europeans as slaves. They were received by Carib aboriginals that inhabited that region; their descendants are known as Garifunas.

Currently the Garifuna people is made up of 40 communities that live along the Honduran Atlantic coast, or the coastal area of the Caribbean that encompasses the departments of Cortés, Atlántida, Colón and Gracias a Dios. The Garifunas have refused to abandon these coastal lands despite the pressures they have suffered since the inception of the banana enclave in the 50s, until the coup d’état in 2009.


The situation of dispossession experienced by the Garifuna people has reached the international courts and the ears of the special rapporteurs of both the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations.

In October 2015, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court) issued a judgment against the state of Honduras for violating the rights of the Garifuna people to their ancestral lands, for allowing the sale of land belonging to the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz and for the installation of residential and tourist projects without permission from the community.

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