Father Fausto Milla and Assistant Denia Mejía Exiled from Honduras

At a press conference on Friday, July 8th at the offices of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), Father Fausto Milla and his assistant Denia Mejía announced their departure from Honduras. They have been victims of serious threats and harassment and have received no response to their denunciations from the responsible authorities. The priest, who is also a Commissioner with the Commission of Truth in Honduras, has therefore taken the decision, along with his assistant, to leave their homeland for an indefinite period of time in order to insure their physical safety.

Below is the statement released by COFADEH during the press conference (translated from the original Spanish). The Honduras Accompaniment Project was present during the event.

Photo: Honduras Accompaniment Project

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COFADEH

Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras

Exile of Father Fausto Milla condemned 

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) expresses its deep regret to the national and international community that Hondurans are having to leave the country.

This time it is the turn of Padre Fausto Milla, Commissioner of the Commission of Truth, who has been the victim, along with his assistant Denia Mejía, of constant surveillance and persecution, as a result of which, to protect his life, he has taken the decision in the last few hours to leave his country, a country for which he has struggled for decades to achieve social change which would secure a decent life for everyone.

This decision has been a difficult one, but the security incidents have been increasing in seriousness, making it clear that this is a strategy aimed at hindering his social work, particularly within the Commission of Truth, which will be presenting its report on the events before and after the coup d’état, as well as on the serious human rights violations committed and those responsible for them.

Other members of the Commission have also been the targets of attacks, which are already public knowledge, both nationally and internationally.  We are concerned about this pattern of systematic persecution, which began in September 2010.

We embrace Father Milla and Denia in solidarity with them.  We believe that exile is an act which violates human rights, by tearing people from their roots.

Since the coup, over 200 people have fled persecution to save their lives and they can not return because the situation in the country regarding the respect for fundamental rights is now more serious than when they left.

We regard it as ironic that, while a report is being submitted calling for reconciliation of the people, valuable men and women are having to go into exile.

We condemn the fact that, although a formal complaint has been filed with the Ministry of the Attorney General, there has been no investigation undertaken so that those responsible for these attacks can be brought to justice and the lives of Father Milla, Denia and the other members of the Commission of Truth can be protected.

We demand immediate action to put an end to this state of insecurity so that Father Milla and Denia can return to their homeland, which they should never have had to leave.

THE CRIMES AND THE CRIMINALS

WILL NEITHER BE FORGIVEN NOR FORGOTTEN

COFADEH

Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, MDC, 8 July 2011

Barrio La Plazuela, Avenida Cervantes, Casa No. 1301

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