Urgent Action: Honduras – March 2011

Update May 2011:

While our Honduran partners continue to face constant attacks on their rights this current action request is no longer applicable. We have left a copy of the content of the letter below so that you can read over it if you wish.  Thank you to everyone who took action to support Honduran citizens and their struggle.  We will continue to keep you informed of their work.  Please sign up for our e-bulletin to keep informed.

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) is requesting that letters be written 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).  Thank you for taking action to support our partners and other members of the Honduran community.

For additional background and contextual information about this action please take a moment to read CoDev Urgent Action Backgrounder – COFADEH – March 2011.

Action

To:

  • José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General, Organization of American States (OAS)
    svillagran@oas.org
  • Sr. Felipe González, President, Inter-American Commission for Human Rights
    cidhdenuncias@oas.org

CC:

Dear Sirs,

It has come to my attention that the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) has made an urgent call to the international community to demand that Mr. Porfirio Lobo’s regime cease its repression and continued criminalization of peaceful protests taking place in Honduras.

On March 17th, in the cities of Tegucigalpa, Comayagua, and Danlí, the preventative police as well as men in civilian clothing driving cars without license plates repressed peaceful demonstrations of teachers and members of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP). According to a preliminary report, as many as 50 people were detained, wounded, and beaten in those demonstrations.

On March 18th, there was another violent eviction of protesters in Tegucigalpa, which resulted in the death of teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez, who was a founding member of COFADEH.

On March 21st when protests were resumed, police directly aimed tear gas canisters at staff of TV Globo and Channel 36 who were trying to record and report on police actions.

On March 22, police launched tear gas bombs into the building which houses the offices of the secondary school teachers union, COPEMH, and the non-governmental Truth Commission.

Earlier the same week, COFADEH released an urgent call-out denouncing “harassment and death threats against human rights defenders, including Blanca Azucena Espinoza, president of the Buenos Amigos peasant cooperative in the Aguán Region; Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza, former Human Rights Commissioner of Honduras (CONADEH); Pedro Vicente Elvir, Dagoberto Posadas and Eduardo Argueta Santos, labour union activists; Kenia Oliva and Karol Cardenas, human rights lawyers at COFADEH; Trinidad Sánchez, director of the Alternative Commerce Network (Red COMAL); and Héctor Renán Soto, director of the Civil Society Group (Grupo Sociedad Civil).”

Considering the above mentioned cases, and numerous previous denouncements, we call on the OAS to maintain Honduras’ suspension from the organization, and we call on the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to institute immediate and effective measures to ensure full respect for all human rights in Honduras.

Sincerely,