Rep. Johnson, 57 colleagues call for investigation into DEA-related killings in Honduras
Members call for review of counter-drug operations affecting Afro-Indigenous communities
WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 30, 2013 – Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) and 57 colleagues sent a letter today to Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder calling for the investigation of alleged abuses by Honduran security forces and the possible role DEA agents played in a shooting incident that led to the tragic death of four indigenous villagers on the Patuca River in northeastern Honduras.
The State Department and the DEA have acknowledged involvement in the May 11, 2012, incident. A pregnant woman and a 14-year-old boy were among the four villagers killed. Several other innocent bystanders were injured.
Johnson and his colleagues are urging these U.S. government agencies to “press ahead with a full investigation to better determine exactly what occurred and what role was played by U.S. agents,” as “official inquiries into the matter have been perfunctory, and deeply flawed.”
They also voiced their concern regarding the worsening human rights situation of Afro-indigenous communities since the June 2009 military coup in Honduras. These communities have been hit particularly hard by drug-related violence from both drug-traffickers and U.S.-backed drug war in Honduras.
“The rate of impunity of alleged abuses perpetrated by state security forces has risen to unprecedented heights” and consequently, they strongly recommend “a review on the implementation of counternarcotics operations carried out by our government in Honduras taking into account the unique conditions and high vulnerability of Afro-descendent and Indigenous communities,” the letter states.