Long-Term Accompaniment Volunteers Needed in Honduras

The following message was originally sent by the Friendship Office of the Americas.

If you or your organization is interested is interested in doing long-term accompaniment work, or sponsoring a long-term volunteer accompanier, please let us know. At this time (September 2010) and for the next several months, the project is looking for individuals with prior accompaniment-related experience in a related context and a high level of Spanish who can help respond to emergent accompaniment needs while supporting the establishment of the project in Tegucigalpa.

History:
In the days immediately following the June 29, 2009 coup d’état in Honduras, Friendship Office Staff (formerly with the Quixote Center) traveled to Tegucigalpa at the request of Honduran social movement leaders to provide emergency accompaniment and help to assess needs. In the first weeks of the coup, we worked with partners in the Hemispheric Social Alliance to organize International Missions of Accompaniment, Solidarity and Witness to provide a seamless international presence and set up a mechanism for daily communication with the National Coalition against the Coup (prior to establishment of the FRNP) to coordinate efforts and disseminate information in a context of human rights violations, repression and a total news blackout.

Then, during a two day gap in July with no International Mission in the country, a bomb exploded in the STIBYS union office used for meetings and a movement leader was violently murdered – 26 stab wounds, every finger broken. The National Coalition against the Coup called with an urgent request to establish a program for permanent accompaniment.

In response, we initiated the Honduras Accompaniment Project with a two person team permanently based in Honduras. We sponsor US/Canadian Human Rights Accompaniment Delegations to increase the international presence and help to get information out. We place short term accompaniers to accompany specific individuals/organizations who request and require it and helped to facilitate emergency evacuations when requested.

Purpose:
To accompany the Honduran people, especially the National Front of Popular Resistance in their historic, non-violent, struggle to transform their society by:

· providing international accompaniment for human rights defenders, communities and social movement leaders working for systemic change in an environment of repression, political persecution and personal risk in the interest of dissuading violence

· bearing witness to and supporting the documentation of events and human rights abuses

· providing consistent and accurate information to the international community

· communicating with international partners regarding emergency response needs on the ground in Honduras

Current Team:
Caitlin Power Hancey is currently based in Honduras with the Accompaniment Project. Caitlin has done accompaniment work in Guatemala and brings that experience to the Honduran context. Jenny Atlee is based in DC and has done accompaniment work for many years in Central America. We are currently in conversation with partners in Honduras regarding accompaniment needs and working to develop a model and build a team that can begin to respond more fully to those needs. We are also in conversation with Coordination for International Accompaniment in Guatemala (CAIG-ACOGUATE) regarding their accompaniment model, collaboration around training for accompaniers and security measures. We will participate in the bi-monthly phone calls of the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN) and collaborate with Chuck Kaufman regarding the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ).

For more information, please contact: Jennifer Atlee
jennya@friendshipamericas.org
Friendship Office of the Americas
PO Box 926
Greenbelt, MD 20768
301-614-0545/301-204-9549