New Government in Honduras has Human Rights Agenda

Human Rights included in government agenda                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Sandra Rodriguez, January 27, 2022

Tegucigalpa, Honduras. – After 12 years of dictatorship the new president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, laid out the new governments’ agenda in her inaugural address, listing 22 points including several human rights issues.

25 thousand people from all over the country and 29 international delegations attended the inauguration of Castro as the first woman President of Honduras representing the LIBRE Party, the political arm of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) which was formed following the coup de tat that overthrew her husband José Manuel Zelaya.

The Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), convened over 300 people who processed around the National Stadium wearing t-shirts that said “no forgetting and no forgiveness” as part of the ceremony for the transition of power.

They held up photographs of family members, friends and compañeros murdered by the dictatorship in the resistance struggle after the coup from 2009-2010, following the electoral fraud in 2017 – 18; in defense of healthcare and education in 2019; suspension of constitutional rights during the covid -19 pandemic and those disappeared in this same context.

The act of acknowledging the names of the martyrs in this solemn act was an act of reparation for participants, as it also was to be seated in front of the stage where previous governments have seated the Armed Forces and the Police, those who are the main perpetrators of political murders.

President Castro laid out 22 points that she will enact to assure that after 12 years of struggle, people enjoy justice, freedom, social and economic welfare and human rights.

  1. Over one million families that live in poverty and consume less than 150KW per month, as of this day will no longer pay an electric bill. Light will be free in their homes.
  2. I will send a law to the National Congress to create a subsidy for fuel and reduce current prices.
  3. I order the Central Bank and the Finance Secretary to create legal mechanisms to reduce interest rates for production.
  4. The Ministry of Education will be assigned a budget to begin the school year with in- person classes for our children and youth; matriculation, lunch, vaccines and masks will be free.
  5. My government will focus on agricultural development and food sovereignty.
  6. We will work with the Armed Forces to protect the environment.
  7. No more permits for open pit mining or exploitation of our minerals.  No more concessions for our rivers and watersheds, national parks and cloud forests.
  8. Special attention will be given to agro foresty, industrial development, promotion of tourism, and strict fiscal and monetary policy.
  9. In the next 100 days, we will take the urgent measures that I promised during my campaign for the re-founding of Honduras.
  10. Freedom for the political prisoners of Guapinol.
  11. Justice for Berta Cáceres.
  12.  Elderly adults, people with disabilities, children and youth, indigenous people, afro-descendents and the LGTBI community, they will all have a specific area of attention in my government.  
  13. In this first month of the legislature, the aberrant, illegal constitutional reforms carried out by the Executive branch and illegally upheld by the National Congress that violate popular sovereignty, such as the ZEDES, will be dismantled.
  14. A commitment assumed by the alliance is to pass a law to condemn the coup d’état that destroyed the constitutional order and illegal re-election which was an act of treason.
  15. An amnesty law for political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and Hondurans in exile so that they can return.  I order that the nationality of Father Andrés Tamayo which was stolen during the coup, be restored.
  16. Overturn the laws that were approved in less than 60 days in a legislative hemorrhage, especially those permitting the sacking of public coffers, in order to stop the system of political clientelism.
  17. Laws oriented to the destruction of social protections and criminalization of protests, laws that promote corruption and the sacking of public resources, seizures, contracts and concessions that harm the economy will be overturned.  It is our responsibility to guarantee that the dark times of the legislative dictatorship never return by democratizing the National Congress.
  18. This year, 2022, the first historic and transparent popular consultation on constitutional reforms should be held.
  19. Immediately reform the budget of the Republic which violated constitutional norms regarding the economic, financial and public treasury systems.
  20. An immediate task is to install the National and International Commission to combat corruption and impunity head-on in Honduras with the help of the United Nations.  I have ordered the Minister of Foreign Relations to communicate with the UN to request support and assistance to fight corruption.
  21. An open State and digital Republic are our proposals to drive the development of the county and to build our capacity in all fields.
  22. A foreign policy that is Central American, Latin American, sovereign and rooted in solidarity.  We support multilateralism and complementarity.