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Ana Mirian Romero

Ana Mirian Romero

Movimiento Indígena Lenca de la Paz, Honduras (MILPAH), Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador
Front Line Defenders Award

In nearly a decade of defending her community’s land and rivers from corporate destruction, Honduran woman Ms. Ana Mirian Romero has endured armed raids, physical assault, death threats, and personal defamation campaigns. On 10 June 2016, former President of Ireland, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, Mrs. Mary Robinson, presented Ana Mirian with the 2016 Front Line Defenders Award.

Ana Mirian Romero is a prominent Honduran human rights defender. She is a member of Movimiento Indígena Lenca de La Paz Honduras – MILPAH (Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, Honduras) and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador (San Isidro Labrador Indigenous Council). The human rights defender has been fighting for the recognition of the land rights of indigenous communities since 2010, when MILPAH and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador filed an adjudication lawsuit for the recognition of their ancestral lands in the municipality.

Ana Mirian Romero is a finalist for the 2016 annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, which honours the work of human rights defenders who, through non-violent work, courageously make an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of their communities, often at great personal risk.

Ana Mirian and her husband Rosario Vasquez Pineda have also been active in opposing the installation of the Los Encinos hydro-electric dam (Hidroelétrica Los Encinos), owned by the Los Encinos S. de R.L., on the Chinacla river. In 2010 they filed a lawsuit for the recognition of the indigenous community's ancestral lands in response to the municipality granting a concession to the company Los Encinos S. de R.L. to construct a hydroelectric dam project on the Chinacla River. Permission to build the dam was granted without the free, prior and informed consent of the affected community. This is a blatant violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Honduras has endorsed, as well as the International Labour Organization Convention 169 and other international jurisprudence. Amongst other concerns, the indigenous community have serious concerns about the negative impact of the project on their access to water.

Ana Mirian Romero's leadership in defence of the ancestral lands has resulted in her and her family being the target of serious and repeated attacks by the police, the military and armed civilians, all of whom represent the interests of the hydroelectric company. On 9 May 2016 the human rights defender and her children received death threats and were intimidated by four men in their home in the municipality of Santa Elena, department of La Paz. On 29 January 2016 her home was burned down and her children have been forced to leave school because of repeated harassment.

Human rights defenders suffer extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment as well as judicial harassment, threats and stigmatisation. Journalists, lawyers, prosecutors, those defending the rights of women, children, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community, indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities, and those working on environmental and land rights issues are particularly at risk.