State of Honduras acknowledges extrajudicial killing in emblematic case

State of Honduras recognizes responsibility for the extrajudicial killing of Herminio Deras in 1983

May 11, 2022

Today before the Inter American Court on Human Rights, the State of Honduras acknowledged full responsibility for the extrajudicial killing of Herminio Deras García, union leader and member of the Communist Party and for violations of the human rights of his family members, including arbitrary detentions, political rights, freedom of association and expression, torture and inhumane treatment.

The events occurred in the context of systematic violations of human rights in Honduras during the 1980s.

The Attorney General for the State of Honduras, Manuel Antonio Díaz Galeas, acknowledged that human rights violations were committed against Herminio Deras García and his family. He stated that a priority for the government of Xiomara Castro, is the adoption of reparative measures in fulfillment of its international responsibility in accordance with the decision of the high Court, including a public apology, and the adoption of measures to protect fundamental human rights through demilitarization of citizen security and the separation of police and military functions.

The family members hope this means that Honduras enters into an era of respect for political pluralism, “not just for us as the Deras family, but for all citizens and the distinct visions that may exist in a society. We remember that this year, like last year and the year before last, community leaders who protested and defended human rights were assassinated in Honduras.

The Inter American Court will emit a sentence on the facts and an evaluation of rights. This is an emblematic case because of the violence exercised by the state of Honduras in the 80s in the framework of the National Security Doctrine, through which it assassinated and forcibly disappeared leaders of political, student and popular organizations and unions indentified as people in opposition to the government at that time.

The persecution of Herminio Deras began with his first achievements as a union advisor in the north of the country, with arbitrary detentions and searches and straffing of his home. It culminated with his murder in 1983 and the morgue refused to receive his body. His children, brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins – including four children – were also arbitrarily detained and violated, suffering death threats, physical and psychological torture. The stigmatization restructured the family and forced several members to leave the country.

Their legal representative, the Committee of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) and the International Federation for Human Rights admire the steadfastness and determination of the family members in their struggle for justice through decades of impunity. Without their fierce determination, this moment that has opened the debate about extreme human rights abuses in Honduras during the 80s would not have been possible.