As an official “Truth Commission” was inaugurated May 4th in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, leading Honduran human rights groups expressed serious concerns and announced an alternative commission.
Saying that a real truth commission “should provide a space which has been denied to the victims, in which they can be heard and injury to their rights repaired,” the groups criticized the official commission for “exclusion of the victims” and the “lack of processes to ensure effectiveness and impartiality.”
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, expressed his support for the official Commission, saying “I hope it will not only help overcome existing difficulties, but will also result in a stronger Honduras.”
Nonetheless, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) cautioned that the official commission “starts off with serious judicial weaknesses,” noting that “there has not been a participatory, inclusive process which meets minimum standards that show a real will to guarantee the Honduran people’s right to truth.” Among the problems CEJIL identified is the lack of a clear mandate to investigate human rights violations, the lack of mechanisms to involve victims, and the lack of authority to ensure the judicial and legislative branches of government cooperate with the commission.
Honduran human rights groups emphasized the Honduran people need to know the truth about and achieve justice for the violations of human rights they have experienced, including “political persecution, murders, sexual violations, repression, denial of access to information, disappearance and torture.”
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