What is the Honduras Accompaniment Project?

History:

 

The coup d’état in 2009 created a serious human rights crisis in Honduras: threats, harassment, and murders of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, campesinos, and social movement leaders increased dramatically. In this context human rights organizations and Honduran social movements requested international accompaniment to dissuade violence and promote respect for human rights.

 In response, the Friendship Office of the Americas (FOA) and the Hemispheric Social Alliance organized several international delegations to offer a continual international presence and accompany the peaceful resistance of human rights organizations. The other objective was to disseminate information outside the country in the midst of a total news blackout in the aftermath of the coup.

 In September 2010, facing an ongoing crisis and impunity, the Friendship Office established the Honduras Accompaniment Project (PROAH) in Tegucigalpa with a permanent team of international human rights accompaniers/observers.

Mandate of the Honduras Accompaniment Project:

Provide international accompaniment to human rights defenders, including human rights and social movement organizations and individuals who find themselves under threat or harassment due to their individual and collective human rights work in an environment of repression and political persecution.

 Principles: Accompaniment is based on the principles of nonviolence, non-interference, and political independence; it cannot be linked to illegal activities of any kind.

 Activities:

  • Dissuade: Offer physical accompaniment to human rights defenders, including communities, human rights organizations, and members of social movements, with the intention of dissuading potential aggressors from attempting attacks.
  • Document: Be witnesses and support the process of documenting the situation and human rights violations.
  • Disseminate: Provide information and consistent, reliable analysis to the international community; together with international support networks, participate in advocacy actions before policy makers and the diplomatic corps.

Today, PROAH is accompanying human rights defenders who fight for justice against impunity as well as for the defense of territory and natural resources. PROAH volunteers accompany human rights defenders in different parts of the country.

 Project Structure: PROAH is a project of Friendship Office, an NGO headquartered in the U.S. PROAH is  based in Tegucigalpa, where a coordinator supervises the international accompaniment team and is supported by a Friendship Office coordinator. Peace Watch Switzerland collaborates with PROAH by providing trained volunteers to work as accompaniers with the PROAH team.

For more information on these two organizations :

Friendship Office of the Americas Website: http://www.friendshipamericas.org/

Peace Watch Switzerland: http://www.peacewatch.ch/Projekte.3.0.html?&L=4

Contacts:

Marine Pezet, PROAH Coordinator: honduras@friendshipamericas.org

Jenny Atlee, Friendship Office Coordinator: jennya@friendshipamericas.org

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