Please find HERE our latest Summary of Human Rights Issues and events in Honduras, for June 2014.
About this report:
June 28 marked the fifth anniversary of the coup. This month children and young people once again dominated the headlines with the surge in young migrants arriving in the US (see P.2), their sheer number for many a stark illustration of the dramatic deterioration in the security and general human rights situation in Honduras over the past five years. This follows the spate of horrific murders of youngsters in May and the persecution of Guadalupe Ruelas, the Casa Alianza director, a prominent advocate for minors, who has been vocal in his criticism of the government in the light of the general increase in the violent deaths of children and young people (see our May summary).
In the reflections on the anniversary of the coup, militarization has been repeatedly mentioned as one of the defining characteristics of the post-coup era, along with impunity. June in this respect has unfortunately been typical. It saw the murder of a Lenca indigenous leader by soldiers in an unprovoked attack (P.3), as well as fresh concerns expressed about the Guardians of the Fatherland program (P.15). There have also been new cases of criminalization of legitimate social protest, while the perpetrators of crimes against the protesters remain at large (see the cases of San Francisco de Opalaca (P.3) and El Tránsito (P.6). Although the murders of campesinos in the Bajo Aguán are finally being investigated, there are concerns about the transparency of the process (P.7), while the killings of the three Locomapa indigenous people remain in impunity and the persecution of those defending the community’s natural resources continues (P.5). Two more journalists were murdered, and in at least one case, the killing could be politically motivated, and there were further cases where journalists have been intimidated or dismissed because of their editorial line (P.9 and 10). Further intimidation of human rights defenders has included surveillance of the offices of COFADEH, and (possibly) the temporary abduction and beating of one of its staff (P.3).
The government’s reaction has also been consistent – in blaming the messenger. Following the letter sent in May to the US Secretary of State, signed by 108 US Congress members, outlining the deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernández announced that he would use his visit to the States in June to speak to officials and contradict the reports that ‘bad Hondurans’ were spreading abroad and which were damaging the country’s reputation.