URGENT ACTION: Repression Escalating in Honduras

Nicaragua-US Friendship Office of the Americas

Dear Friends,


Honduras is reeling after heavy repression was unleashed across the country yesterday in response a nationwide strike. For two weeks, state security forces have responded to peaceful protests with increasingly violent repression leaving scores of detained and injured.   


The Commission of Truth reports that Eddy Guifarro Mejia, a member of the security team, was badly beaten by police yesterday.  After beating his head with their guns, police opened fire on him when he broke free and ran to escape. Eddy is currently being treated for severe head injuries.


On Monday March 28th, staff of the Commission of Truth Office in San Pedro Sula was startled by a loud explosion on the roof that caused damage to the ceiling. Attorney Brenda Mejía, regional Coordinator of the office, had just returned to Honduras after participating in the March 25th, Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) hearings, on the issue of "Criminalization of Social Protest" in Honduras. After her presentation, a Honduran military officer attending the hearing spoke to Brenda in an intimidating manner.  The incident was reported to the Prosecutors Office however, there is yet no conclusive determination as to what occurred.


Meanwhile, for over one week, the Commission of Truth Office for the Attention of Victims in Tegucigalpa has been impacted by excessive amounts of tear gas fired by police and military at the COPEMH (Association of Secondary Teachers of Honduras) headquarters located nearby.

Ilse Ivania Velzaquez, a teacher and co-founder of COFADEH was tragically killed due to a tear gas canister fired at her head.


This week, an "Open letter to the distinguished members of the international diplomatic corps and international organizations with a presence or focus on Honduras," signed by 127 organizations from the Americas and Europe, was delivered to the diplomatic corps in Honduras expressing support for the work of the Commission of Truth and requesting their support in insisting on the protection of the staff of the Commission, all victims, families and witnesses.


Given the relentless repression and the alarming, excessive use of force on the part of state security forces, we ask you to:


Call your members of Congress today:


-Express your concern for a second consecutive week of violent repression and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters on the part of state security forces in Honduras.


-Ask your member of Congress to call the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and ask what the U.S. is doing to demand restraint and respect for human rights on the part of Honduran security forces. 


Go to http://www.house.gov/ to get info for your member of Congress, and call:  202-224-3121

Go to http://www.senate.gov/ to get information for your Senator, and call: 202-224-3121


Call the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa: 011-504-2236-9320 or 2238-5114


Please leave the same message: for Ambassador Llorens, Simon Henshaw and Jeremy Spector.


For Canadians:

1) please write to your MP with the same requests as outlined below (find your MP’s contact info here: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/compilations/houseofcommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC)

2) Call the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica, which is responsible for Honduras, at 011-506-2242-4400 and leave a message with the same requests for the Ambassador Cameron MacKay and Political Officer Leonard Baulne. You can also email them at Cameron.MacKay@international.gc.ca or leonard.beaulne@international.gc.ca.


Thank you for helping to accompany the people and those who defend human rights in Honduras.


In Hope and Peace,


Jenny Atlee  

Friendship Office