COFADEH issued an alert following the decision of Honduran President to deploy 25,000 members of the armed forces across the country in response to growing protests against the continuation of military and economic violence and rampant corruption since the 2009 coup. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras expressed concern and reminded the State of Honduras that the military should not participate in matters of public order. Read the Alert: New Urgencies in the Crisis
Jean Stokan with the Sisters of Mercy writes about U.S. policy as a root cause of the current crisis at the border. What is needed are policies of peace and justice, so people are not forced to flee. Please read and share her article: https://otherwords.org/a-border-crisis-of-our-own-making/
Tegucigalpa.- Police and military threw tear gas bombs at the offices of the Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), which opened its doors to people protesting the privatization of education and health so that they could protect themselves from the brutal repression which they were victims of. The General Coordinator of COFADEH, Berta Oliva, issued a call to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to “come and witness the siege against us for opening our doors for the protestors, for the people that are denouncing this new coup against education and health care.” A tank with soldiers parked a few meters from the COFADEH headquarters, fired tear gas bombs at a group of protestors who took refuge inside the office of the human rights organization. “We are under siege and we will not close our doors. Our doors will be open to people seeking protection,” stated Oliva. “We ask the High Commissioner to intercede so that this organization can freely exercise our work as a human rights organization as we always do, with our doors open, offering protection to people who demand and need it, with just reasons and just determination because the people can’t take anymore,” she said. “The people are submitted to the most cruel, barbaric brutality on the part of the military and the regime. This is what we are up against. We are suffering and enduring. The air is saturated with tear gas bombs that were thrown at the COFADEH office. We are in a state of high alert, trying to continue doing the work we have done for years in support of life and freedom.” “We are not going to close our doors to all of these people who have sought refuge from the repression in the offices of COFADEH because the security forces will pick them up. We will protect them even if we have to go with them, even if we are taken with them. “This is our decision” concluded the human rights defender. Police and military began to repress the social protest announced for this day to condemn new laws privatizing health and education. There are reports of one person wounded by state agents who fired on protestors. The injured person is José Humberto Duarte, a teacher in the department of Yoro. There are also reports of at least 5 people who were detained and taken to the Manchen station, including university students: Josué Farid Aguilar (18), Júnior Omar Zelaya (19) and Kendal Eduardo Zepeda (18). The young people were detained by the preventative police during protests in the center of the city. During the detention they were beaten by agents in the arms, legs and face. The police would not release the youth to COFADEH’s attorneys, accusing them of having hit an official and inciting violence. Ariel Ricardo Moncada, a graphic design student and Javier Ávila, also a student, are detained in the basements of the National Congress. Once again, the regime of the illegal government of Juan Orlando Hernández represses people who take to the streets to defend health and education. http://defensoresenlinea.com/lanzan-bombas-lacrimogenas-en-las-oficinas-…
Tegucigalpa.- An “Ecumenical Vigil for political prisoners and for those who are politically persecuted Honduras” was held in front of the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa. An international religious delegation from the United States participated in the vigil which was organized by the Convergence against Continuism and the Committee for the Liberation of Political Prisoners. Seventy five people participated in the delegation including religious leaders and migrants’ rights defenders.The international delegation, which ends its visit to the country on March 24th, has visited different regions where they learned about the reality that communities resisting extractive industries are facing and the human rights violations that are forcing people to flee their homes and country.The Coordinator of the Committee of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras, (Cofadeh) and member of the coordination of the Convergence against Continuism stated, “We are here to tell the government of the United States to suspend economic assistance for security and defense because that last thing our country has is security and defense. We do not want more militarization because it only leaves us with more pain.” She said that they had come to the US Embassy to protest because “the dictatorship of Juan Orlando Hernández has consolidated due to the determination of the government of the United States in our country”.Reverend Deborah Lee, Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity said, “There is great strength among you here, in the streets, in the countryside, in the valleys and in the mountains; you inspire us and we will take your strong message to our Government. We are here to learn from the people, not from what the government says; we are here to listen to your histories and testimonies, which we will take to the leaders of our government because together, at your side, we can amplify your voices in the United States.”Read the full article:http://defensoresenlinea.com/ecumenical-vigil-in-front-of-the-us-embassy…
Journalist Giorgio Trucchi interviews 82 year old Hernán Guevara Gutiérrez, 82 years old, a survivor of the “House of Terror”. Under the National Security doctrine in the 80’s, Hernán was taken to a house in Amarateca, just outside of the capital, “property of a high ranking military officer that had been converted into a place of torture and death. That house now belongs to Cofadeh, and they want to convert it into a Museum of Memory. Cofadeh continues to demand justice for 184 disappeared in Honduras and for thousands of people who were murdered in the 70’s and 80’s. The impunity is total and absolute. Honduras was the first state to be condemned by the Inter American Court of Human Rights for the forced disappearance of social movement leaders.” At the conclusion of the interview, Hernan states, “This history marked me forever. The saddest thing is to see that almost nothing has changed. What is happening today is practically the same as what happened during those years.” See the full interview.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras presented its report for 2018. The OHCHR in Honduras reiterated concern regarding the militarization of public security and impunity for crimes during the post-electoral repression. The report highlighted a “pattern of criminalization of human rights defenders, including indigenous, campesino and environmental activists.” To read the full report: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HY84yNMEhw3JfHiNTB434eS_d6pBH8o1/view
March 1, 2019 Press ReleaseTomorrow, we commemorate the death of renowned Honduran indigenous leader and environmental activist Berta Cáceres. Three years ago, Berta Cáceres was murdered in her home by people connected to the state security forces at the behest of dam construction company DESA. Berta was a champion in the fight against the invasion of indigenous lands by corporate entities, and a co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) – an organization dedicated to the defense of the indigenous Lenca people. Her death was a tragedy that rattled both her community and advocates worldwide. On this third anniversary of Berta’s murder, Congress must redouble its efforts to ensure that U.S. funds are not going to foreign governments who use our aid to silence labor, human rights, and indigenous activists with their military and police forces. I stand alongside the countless advocates and champions fighting on the front lines every day for the protections of Hondurans, and as a Member of Congress, I will continue standing with them to achieve a better, safer Honduras. ### https://hankjohnson.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-johnson-co…
“Nothing has changed in terms of human rights when those who are responsible for the disappearances have no fear of ever facing justice for their crimes or of manipulating their crimes. Only then will Honduras change.” Bertha OlivaPleae read the full interview.
“The Friendship Office stands with partners in the region in affirming the need to search for peaceful solutions and in rejecting U.S. threats, sanctions and intervention. For Nicaragua, this includes opposing economic and military intervention and the Nica Act, sponsored by the same right wing extremists that supported the coup in Honduras.”Please see the full Newsletter here.
“We reject the interference led by the government of the United States and supported by its allied governments, some of which have come to power via coup de ’tat and are responsible for multiple forms of human rights violations in their own countries, for example, Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. These actions fuel and encourage the script of terror that has impacted the people of Nicaragua. We affirm the right to sovereignty and self-determination for this sister nation. We express the need to search for peaceful solutions, to establish concrete guidelines for processes of reconciliation based on peace with justice and truth, including the possibility of an inclusive dialogue processes between the government and representatives from the different sectors of society.”Please see the full Declaration here.