By Demion McTair. Updated 7:23 p.m., Friday, August 7, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has written to the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), and the President of Honduras, calling for action to protect the rights of Garifuna people in Central America.
In his letter to Honduras’ President, Juan Orlando Hernandez, dated August 1, 2020, Dr. Gonsalves specifically addressed the kidnapping of five Garifuna men known to be activists in the central American country on land issues and rights for Garifuna people.
Dr. Gonsalves said “as you are probably aware, the original and spiritual home of all the Garifuna people is “Yuremein”, now known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
“There remains a special bond arising from historical and contemporary circumstances between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and our Garifuna brothers and sisters the world over but especially in Honduras, Belize, Guatamala and Nicaragua,” Dr. Gonsalves wrote.
The prime minister wrote “the abduction of “the Garifuna Five” comes against the backdrop of widespread violations of the rights of the Garifuna people, including their ownership rights to ancestral lands”.
Dr. Gonsalves told the Honduran President that the matter is an international human rights one and that St. Vincent and the Grenadines would raise the matter at the UN, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Dr. Gonsalves followed up on that promise in an August 6, 2020 letter addressed to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.
Dr. Gonsalves told Guterres “I draw this vital international human rights issue to your attention and request that you cause an appropriate report to be done by the Secretariat for possible further action”.
“There is simply too much injustice done to minority ethnic or disadvantaged groups in the word. Only the United Nations and its various institutions are available, in some circumstances, to correct injustices and right certain historical wrongs. This is one such case,” Dr. Gonsalves added.
Five men or Garifuna origin were abducted in mysterious circumstances in Honduras around July 15, 2020.
The incident has sparked outrage in the country and in different circles.