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We express our grave concerns about the flawed electoral process that has taken place in Honduras. Faith in the electoral process has been damaged by the delays and lack of transparency of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal in conducting the count. Multiple irregularities and denunciations of fraudulent actions require at a minimum full transparency, with international observation and Honduran civil society and political party observation in recounting the vote, including the full set of tally sheets from polling places and all other necessary reviews of electoral procedures requested by Honduran political parties.
We applaud the valiant efforts of Honduran citizens across the country to defend their democratic rights through peaceful protests. We denounce any acts of violence and looting in the wake of the disputed elections.
We denounce the acts of brutality by members of the Honduran security forces in the aftermath of the elections as Hondurans exercised their rights to protest. At least 12 people have been killed in the context of protests and 51 have been wounded. Over 800 people have been detained, according to COFADEH. Two members of the preventive police were killed as they were attempted to enforce the curfew. There are reports of abuse and torture of those in detentions. Human rights defenders and journalists have faced attacks and hindrances to their work during this critical moment. Honduras’s Military Police of Public Order has been singled out by human rights organizations as involved in many of the incidents in which protestors were wounded or killed.
These human rights abuses are not just a question of this moment but part of a larger pattern of human rights violations and violations of the rights of freedom of association and expression that have taken place throughout President Juan Orlando Hernández’s term and indeed, since the 2009 coup in Honduras.
We recognize and applaud those members of the Honduran police who are committed to refusing to take actions that repress their fellow citizens.
As organizations, largely U.S.-based, concerned with human rights in Honduras, we deplore the decision of the U.S. State Department to certify Honduras meets human rights conditions in U.S. law two days after the disputed elections. We are gravely disappointed in the reluctance of the U.S. Embassy to emphatically denounce the abuses of human rights and freedom of association and expression that are taking place.
We urge the Honduran government to:
- ensure that its security forces respect the rights of the Honduran people, journalists and social communicators, social movements, and civil society organizations to freely express their opinions and exercise their right to freedom of association and peaceful protest. This includes ending the state of siege.
- effectively investigate and prosecute state agents involved in gross human rights violations and electoral fraud as well as others involved in such crimes.
- ensure that there is a fully transparent vote recount with international and Honduran civil society and political party observation. This process should include all of the recounts and other reviews of the electoral process requested by all political parties as well as other steps necessary to restore legitimacy of the electoral process.
We urge the international community to:
- insist upon full transparency in the vote recount, to urge the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to carry out the recounts and other reviews of the electoral process requested by all political parties, and to take whatever other steps are necessary to restore legitimacy of the electoral process.
- urge the Honduran government to withdraw its military from policing during this crisis and permanently, including by dismantling the Military Police of Public Order.
We urge the U.S. government to:
- publicly denounce abuses of human rights and violations of the rights of the Honduran people to freedom of expression and association, including the right to protest.
- suspend military and police assistance to Honduras.
- the appropriations committees of the U.S. Congress should place a hold on the 50 percent of U.S. aid to the central government of Honduras tied to the human rights conditions in U.S. law, which was recently certified by the State Department.
- given the difficult human rights situation and political instability in the country, immediately halt deportations to Honduras and renew Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans in the United States.
American Friends Service Committee
Church World Service
Colombia Grassroots Support, New Jersey
Colombia Human Rights Committee, Washington D.C.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Advocacy Office
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Friendship Office of the Americas
Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project
International Labor Rights Forum
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Movement for Peace in Colombia, New York
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society