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Human Rights at Risk in Honduras

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With the chaos following the June 28th coup and the shuttering of media outlets, it has been hard to learn about the state of human rights in Honduras.  That’s why it’s so important to read the report that the Honduran Association of the Detained and Disappeared, COFADEH, released July 15t on the human rights situation in Honduras since the coup on June 28, 2009. 

The report says:

Violations of the right to life. 
–Isis Obed Murillo Mencias, 19, was killed, allegedly when members of army shot live bullets into the crowd gathered at the airport July 5th  to welcome President Zelaya as he attempted to return to Honduras.  The father of the young man, Jose David Murillo Sanchez, was subsequently detained after he left the office of COFADEH to report the death of his son.

–Gabriel Fino Noriega, a journalist, was killed in a drive-by shooting July 3, 2009.  He had been reporting on the marches against the coup, but also had received death threats four months previously related to another story.

Serious bodily harm.
–59 people have been wounded, including people who were shot or beaten by police and soldiers during demonstrations.

Detained.
–352 people were detained, 194 for disturbing the peace (a charge used for those detained in protests), and 158 for violating curfew.

Violations of freedom of expression.
–More than a dozen radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers were taken over by the military and shut down.  Journalists were physically assaulted by soldiers and equipment was destroyed.  For example, Radio Globo, June 28:  “At 6 PM soldiers assaulted the radio station, destroying transmission equipment and cameras… They physically assaulted three journalists and three technicians and the station’s owner.”  Journalists have also suffered detention and death threats.

Read the full report here or click here to see a video by Witness for Peace of COFADEH official Bertha Olivas as she presents the report.

See also the following articles regarding the human rights situation:

Amnesty International USA: “Honduras: Intimidation of Media Workers and Protestors Rising”

Human Rights Watch: “Evidence Suggests Soldiers Shot into Unarmed Crowd”

Freedom House: “Freedom House Condemns Coup, Urges Return to Democratic Norms”

Committee to Protect Journalists: “Honduran Journalist Shot to Death”

Article 19: “Honduras: Freedom of Expression Under Threat Following Weekend Coup, 1 July 2009”

Inter-American Commission for Human Rights: “IACHR Expresses concern over the suspension of guarantees in Honduras and amplifies precautionary measures”

United Nations: “UN Expert Criticizes Actions of Authorities, Supreme Court in Honduras”