March 30 2014
For Immediate Release

Building Solidarity with Honduras Tour:
Peoples' Rights over Corporate Rights

Bertha Oliva(Toronto) Prominent Honduran human rights activist Bertha Oliva, general coordinator of the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared and Detained in Honduras (COFADEH), will be speaking in Toronto, Six Nations, Ottawa and Montreal the week of April 7 to 11, 2014.

COFADEH is a leading Honduran human rights organization. It seeks justice for current human rights abuses and for “disappearances” by state security forces in the 1980s, and trains local human rights activists. Bertha Oliva has become an emblematic presence in Central American human rights movement and is one of the leading voices of resistance to state repression.

Bertha will share first-hand accounts of deteriorating human rights in Honduras, militarization of the Central American country and its political crisis since the controversial November 2013 elections. She will report on the aggressive privatization and extraction of natural resources, and how that contributes to social conflict.

Violence and corruption in Honduras have reached an all-time high: 32 journalists have been murdered since 2009. According to "Honduras: Journalism in the Shadow of Impunity," a recent report by PEN Canada, PEN International, and the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, much of this violence is carried out by the state itself and its corrupt police force. Transparency International cites Honduras as the most corrupt country in Central America and one of the most corrupt in the world.

The Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement was signed on Nov. 5, 2013, despite political repression, increased militarization and controversial Canadian investment. Furthermore,
the process of negotiating this agreement lacked transparency. For example, its official Environmental Impact Assessment, released in October, omitted any assessment of Canadian investments in Honduras – because this data is considered confidential.

Bertha Oliva’s solidarity tour in Canada hopes to spark debate about the need to prioritize human rights and promote rights-based development, as opposed to considering only trade as a solution to the challenges facing people in the global south.

For more information or to arrange interviews with Bertha Oliva, contact:
Raul Burbano,
Program Director, Common Frontiers,
416.522.8615 burbano@rogers.com

Bertha Oliva will speak on the following dates:

TORONTO:  Monday April 7 from 12:30–2:30 p.m., McLaughlin College, Senior Common Room 140. Organized by McLaughlin College, the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), York University's Equity Department and Centre for Human Rights.

OTTAWA:  Tuesday April 8 from 7–8:30p.m., University of Ottawa Faculty of Social Sciences Building, room FSS4006. Organized by the Americas Policy Group and friends.

MONTREAL:  Wednesday April 9 from 7–9 p.m. (en français), Salle PK-3605, Pavillon Président-Kennedy de l'UQAM. Organized by Mer et Monde and friends.

SIX NATIONS:  Thursday April 10, from 6–8 p.m. Oliver smith-kawenni:io school, 1208 Third Line Rd., Ohsweken. Organized by the human rights committee of PSAC Local 00128 and Turtle Island News Publications.

TORONTO:  Friday April 11 from 7–9 p.m., Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham St. (at Bathurst subway). Organized by York University, the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC), and Common Frontiers.

Follow the tour on Twitter at #hondurassolidarity.

This speaking tour has been made possible by the generous support and hard work of the following organizations: 

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