We are a delegation of the SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS WATCH that has come to Honduras to learn about the current situation of human rights in the country. SOAW previously came to Honduras immediately following the June 2009 coup orquestrated by SOA graduates GeneralRomeo Vásquez and General Luis Prince Suazo. We return to get first hand information about the human rights situation in the country under the regime of Porfirio Lobo.
In our six days in Honduras we have met with professors, students, farmers, workers, religious leaders, journalists, human rights defenders, family members of victims of political assassination, international observers, as well as with organizations of environmentalists, the LGBT community, women, unions and teachers. Our visits have taken place in Tegucigalpa, El Progreso, Ceiba, Trujillo, Tocoa and communities of the Lower Aguan.
We find ourselves profoundly concerned by the grave and widespread situation of human rights violations, the involvement of government security forces, and the total impunity that reigns in the country. The severity and extent of repression of the Lobo regime in recent months exceeds that of the first weeks under Micheletti. Extrajudicial executions, violent repression of protest, death threats and harrassment are being methodically implemented to halt resistance to government efforts to offer Honduras to the highest bidder, as is evident in the “Honduras is Open for Business” conference currently taking place. We found clear complicity between government officials, security forces and the private corporate sector in their bid for the land, skills, labor and natural resources of Honduras.
We note that sectors of society that have been especially affected by this violent repression are journalists, human rights defenders, teachers, small farmers, members of the LGBT community, union leaders, students, and women.
The Lobo regime is illegal and should not be recognized by the United States, nor by the Organization of American States. As U.S. citizens we are concerned that our government has allowed this illegal regime to continue through multiple sources of U.S. financing. We are especially concerned about our government´s direct responsibility for increased militarization of Honduras, resulting in the killing, repression and harrassment of citizens of Honduras who struggle for dignity and for democracy.
We therefore call on our government to :
· Immediately suspend U.S. assistance to the military and police
· Insist that the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa publicly denounce violence and threats against defenders and activists
· Pressure the Honduran government to end abuse by official security forces by suspending, investigating and prosecuting those implicated in human rights violations.
· Insist that the Honduran government be pressed to vigorously implement the measures recommended by the IACHR to protect human rights defenders and journalists.
· End U.S. military presence at and funding for the Palmerola, Guanaja, and Caratasca bases
Adrianne Aron Fr. Roy Bourgeois Sherrill Hogen Ken Jones John Lamperti Karina Macias Mary Anne Perrone Gail Presbey Joan Reidy Lisa Sullivan
School of the Americas Watch