Just days ago, Friendship Office staff accompanied Bertha Oliva, Coordinator of the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared and Detained of Honduras, COFADEH, to Washington, D.C. She gave testimony at the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and registered concerns in Congress and at the State Department about a new level of crisis in Honduras.
The trip, organized together with partner organizations in Washington, was important for highlighting new evidence of Honduran state run death squads. Because of the myriad of abuses carried out by police and the military, Bertha advocated that the U.S. stop all funding to Honduran police and military and called for a fundamental reset of U.S. Honduran policy.
A breaking Associated Press article, US aids Honduran Police Chief despite death squad claims: assures Congress he was cut off clearly articulates major inconsistencies between State Department claims and reality. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) circulated the article as a Dear Colleague to every member of Congress. Senator Leahy (D-VT) is asking the State Department to explain what appears to be a major violation of the Leahy Law.
We urgently need you to call your Congressional representative and ask that they contact the State Department to ask why the U.S. is funding Honduran police units with alleged ties to death squads, despite State Department assurances of compliance with the Leahy Law.
The Congressional Switchboard number is (202) 224- 3121. To identify your rep, go to this website and type your zip code in the upper right corner): http://www.house.gov/representatives Ask to speak with the aide who handles foreign policy.
"My name is ____ and I live in your district in [your city or town]. I am calling to urge [your Representative] to contact the State Department regarding recent reports by the Associated Press that the United States continues to fund police units under the control of Col. Juan Carlos Bonilla, who has been credibly accused of three extrajudicial killings that occurred in 2002, and links to 11 more deaths and disappearances. The United States must immediately stop funding all Honduran police units; they all operate under Police Chief Bonilla. Furthermore, given extensive and persistent corruption, human rights violations including persistent attacks on Afro-indigenous and peasant communities, and failed anti-drug strategies of Honduran security forces, the State Department and other US agencies must zero out all police and military assistance and cooperation, and must fundamentally recast US policy in Honduras."
Thank you for helping to defend human rights in Honduras by requesting full accountability regarding U.S. funding for Honduran police who are allegedly operating death squads.