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.

Recent News!
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.

In solidarity,

CoDev staff team

Direct from the field…

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).

News we’ve been keeping an eye on

2 Responses to Take Action: Honduran Human Rights Under Attack

  1. ben west says:

    Thanks for bringing this important issue to my attention.

  2. Oliver Hernan Valladares says:

    Violent eviction in Planes leaves 12 injured, one dead
    Posted on March 30, 2011 by murielsoy
    One person dead, 12 wounded with bullets and several detainees, is the balance left by the violent military and police eviction today in the sector of Planes, in the department of Colón, where people were peacefully protesting.

    The road blockade occurred around 7 am, where protesters were disrupting vehicular circulation between the department of Colon and Atlantida.

    Minutes after they took the road, a contingent of police and soldiers arrived armed with shields, tear gas, batons and their regulation weapons in defiance of the protesters.

    At about 12:20 pm, when the protesters were about to leave, the police began firing tear gas to disperse the crowd; people ran in all directions to protect themselves from the effects of gas.

    The police then began firing live ammunition against demonstrators who took shelter in the bushes and nearby trees. According to reports, 12 people were seriously injured and had to be transferred to various centers throughout the Aguán Valley.

    Soldiers and police fired live ammunition on demonstrators

    The wounded are farmers Neptalí Esquivel, Paul Chavez, Juan Antonio Vasquez, Mauro Rosado, Franklin Hernandez, Victor Euceda, Daniel Perez, teachers Gualdina Diaz, Elias Erazo and Eduardo Rivera, David Korea a cameraman of a TV channel and a Tocoa a security guard who was crossing at the time that police fired on demonstrators.

    [According to Comun-Noticias, the dead campesino´s body is missing, which coincides with reports that it was taken by a police squad.]

    There are also reports that in the chase, eight people were taken into police custody at the Sheba police station. A ninth person was arrested by an army command and the protesters expressed concern that they do not know where she was transferred.

    Street sellers who remained in Planes were also affected by the tear gas; several families living nearby have complained that they were hit by the bulk of chemical released by the police against teachers and members of the National Popular Resistance Front who took the roads in this sector.

    Planes is one of the strategic points to block access to Aguán Valley.

    Organizations from Colon, members of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), teachers unions, trustees, parents and students followed the call by the FNRP for a national strike to require the government to resolve the education crisis and to say no to the decentralization of public education; to demand the adoption of the Minimum Wage Act, and to reduce fuel prices, support low prices for basic goods and public utility rates and the call for a National Constituent Assembly.


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