Take Action: Honduran Human Rights Under Attack
Here at CoDev there is always the possibility that we will check our emails and receive news from our partners that their livelihoods and lives are at risk. Unfortunately this isn’t as infrequent an event as we would like it to be and this week is no exception.
On Monday Steve Stewart, one of Program Directors, emailed us from his vacation to inform us that a Honduran teacher, Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez, had died as a result of continued human rights repression in Honduras. This repression has been a very real part of the lives of Hondurans since the coup in June 2009. Early this afternoon we received additional proof of this from another Honduran teacher entrenched in the struggle.
Most recent updates from Steve Stewart, CoDev Program Director on situation in Honduras and news from our partners.
On a recent visit to Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at the beginning of the month, CoDev program director Carol Wood noted that while she never felt unsafe herself, the level of violence was noticeably higher than on previous visits. “Our partners struggled to uphold human rights for workers before the coup, and the volatile situation since then has only made things worse. International pressure needs to be kept up so that our partners and other human rights workers can continue their work safely.”
The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), of which Ms. Velásquez Rodríguez was a founding member, have asked the international community to send letters to leaders at the Organization of American States (OAS) and Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) regarding the current human rights crisis in Honduras, including threats and attacks against specific human rights defenders, and violent repression of public protest since last Thursday (March 17th).
What can you do?
You can take immediate action on this matter by visiting the Urgent Action posted on our site.
In addition to taking action we encourage you to take a look at some of the links provided below of the coverage over the past few days. Do you have links to interesting coverage? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.
CoDev staff team
Following are translated portions of an email message we received via one of our Central American teacher partners.
1:00 pm Tuesday, 24 March, Tegucigalpa
“We are living through the worst repression in the history of teachers; it is like they are hunting for humans. It is an atrocious attack against what we think. Our struggle is peaceful, we are only defending public education, the INPREMA*. We are defending what is ours, that which belongs to us!
There has been no indication of any willingness to dialogue. And they are lying to the world. They have gone to Geneva to present a report regarding Human Rights, something which we do not have here.
The compañeras of the teacher unions, COPEMH, COLPROSMAH, COPRUMH, PRICHMA are taking refuge in their offices. First aid organizations are in the COLPROSUMAH office where there are many students in shock because the private Metropolitan University is there in the same building.
Stop the repression against the Honduran teachers who raise their voices in defence of public education!
The following leaders have been detained: Jose Martin Sauzo and others.
They are attacking the teacher organization’s property as well. They took away COLPROSUMAH’s private vehicle, taking the driver out and hitting him. They then took the vehicle and carried off 12 captured teachers to a sentry post, where about 50 compañeros have been detained according to Frankling Padilla, elected leader of the organization.
The ex-President of COPEMH, Adalid Romero has been wounded when he was hit on the face. He has been taken into the public hospital in Tegucigalpa where is being attended and is in stable condition.
Demonstrators from the teacher unions have been given refuge in the homes of families in the neighbourhoods around the INPREMA including El Hogar, Las Colinas and Luis Landa. But the police are entering the homes and taking away people who are trying to save their lives.
Teachers in Honduras ask for help.”
Martha Alicia Rodriguez Moncada, Honduran Teacher
*The INPREMA is an institution with responsibility for teachers’ pension as well as other benefits. Last Tuesday the government seized complete control of the institute (before it was a jointly managed funds between government and teacher reps).