Ref. :  000040632
Date :  2016-12-01
Language :  English
Home Page / The whole website
fr / es / de / po / en

Honduras: Human rights defenders between a rock and a hard place

Author :  FIDH

(Panama City-Geneva-Paris-Tegucigalpa, December) Everyday in Honduras, human rights defenders face killings, threats and criminalisation. The Honduran authorities must show genuine political willingness to confront this crisis, urge today the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an OMCT - FIDH partnership), Honduran human rights organisations CEHPRODEC, CIPRODEH, COFADEH and the International Platform Against Impunity. This call was launched in the framework of a public hearing held in Panama City before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the situation of human rights defenders in Honduras.


image

The predicament of human rights defenders in Honduras has received a great deal of international attention in 2016, following the murder of Berta Cáceres, an emblematic Lenca indigenous defender. This crime is just the tip of the iceberg; the high levels of violence directed against defenders in Honduras have made it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defence.

Since 2001, 17 defenders have been murdered, although they were beneficiaries of IACHR precautionary measures - an average of one per year. Since May 2015, the Observatory has documented 16 killings of human rights defenders - almost one per month. These figures clearly demonstrate that the situation is becoming more acute.

Attacks against defenders tend to go unpunished, largely due to inefficiencies in the administration of justice as well as a number of other structural factors. Meanwhile, there have been a great many incidences of defenders being criminalised, and the judicial system has shown remarkable diligence in pursuing these cases. According to IACHR, since 2010 there have been 3,064 cases in Honduras where human rights defenders have been criminalised as a means of intimidation.

The report concludes that Honduras needs a clearer and more protective national framework, one which fully recognises the human rights of the rural population, indigenous peoples and the LGBTI community. This would improve the working environment of defenders of these rights, and would allow them to enjoy a greater degree of legitimacy and visibility, especially in situations of conflict over natural resources and hetero-patriarchal stereotypes respectively.

“Until we find solutions to the structural problems that endanger human rights defenders, positive measures, like the Protection Law on Defenders, will have little impact. Discriminatory policies against the LGBTI community, as well as violations of land rights (including the obligation of consultation of communities affected by development projects), exacerbate conflicts and reinforce stereotypes - leaving defenders between a rock and a hard place,”

Specifically, in a context where 35% of the country’s land area is set to be soon affected by 837 potential mining projects, the establishment of a clear domestic legislative framework that shows respect for international human rights standards related to the use of land would help to channel situations where there is a risk of conflict through institutional processes based on dialogue, instead of giving rise to violence and social strife. That is why our organisations are advocating for a participatory discussion process to be adopted, with the full involvement of civil society and particularly representatives of the indigenous and Garifuna people.

Furthermore, the report concludes that structural factors, such as the militarisation of the State, the lack of a truly independent judiciary, systematic stigmatisation of defenders and institutional failings on the part of the State with respect to human rights are evidence that the government lacks any real willingness to protect those who speak out to defend human rights.

This is illustrated by the recent and worrying statements by President Juan Orlando Hernández, in which he irresponsibly criminalised human rights organisations by assimilating them to gangs. Such statements only contribute to increasing risks of attacks against defenders.

In view of the conclusions of our report, our organisations formulate specific recommendations in terms of the necessary structural reforms that were identified over the course of the study.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

Publication of an international fact-finding report


Countries : 

Rate this content
 
 
 
Same author:
 flecheCondemned to silence: the situation of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia
 flecheThe United Nations Counter-Terrorism Complex: Bureaucracy, Political Influence, Civil Liberties
 flecheHonduras: Protected Areas and Water Resources Threatened by the Granting of Licences for Hydroelectric Plants
 flecheHuman Rights Coalition Calls on ICC to Investigate Role of Chiquita Executives in Contributing to Crimes against Humanity
 flecheGuide des 100 mesures pour l’éradication des violences à l’encontre des femmes
 flecheReport reveals links between five French banks and insurance companies and the Israeli settlements
 flecheBelarus: last country in Europe to carry out the death penalty
 flecheEU Decision: All citizens with a home larger than 60m2 will have to take in a migrant
 fleche[COMIC STRIP] Violence Against Women in Africa
 flecheColombie, The human cost of Oil :
 flecheDeath Penalty: Compilation of FIDH and leagues press releases from 2013 to 2016
 flecheReport slams year-long application of state of emergency in France
 flecheFIDH looks back at 2015 in our traditional comic strip
 flecheBeing born a girl means clearing a lot of hurdles
 flecheThe Amesys Case: the victims anxious to see tangible progress
 flecheMake way for Justice #2: 40 cases to understand universal jurisdiction
 flecheBeing born a girl means clearing a lot of hurdles
 flecheCriminalization of human rights defenders: an alarming phenomenon in Latin America
 flecheBurundi conflict: A timeline of how the country reached crisis point
 flecheFive years after the revolution : Egypt’s Poorest Human Rights Record in its Modern History
 flecheAsia and human rights: debunking the myths
 flecheOp-Ed: TTIP and UN Treaty – the EU must stand up for Human Rights
 flecheBetween Round-ups and Regularisation: Morocco’s Vacillating Migration Policy
 flecheHuman rights organisations alarmed by bill that will give surveillance agencies dangerous new powers
 flecheBeijing +20: Broken promises, women’s rights under threat across the globe
 fleche“Whether or not you want to, you have to go”
 flecheCambodia : Sentence of 2 former Khmer Rouge leaders to life imprisonment is historic
 flecheIsrael-OPT: A New Cycle of Violence whose Targets are Civilians
 flecheCentral African Republic, "They must all leave or die". Investigative report: Answering war crimes with crimes against humanity
 flecheEgypt: Epidemic of sexual violence continues
 flecheInternational day of the disappeared 2011
 flechePosition paper on the creation of a new UN mechanism on laws that discriminate against women
 flecheSteadfast in protest - 2010 Annual Report
 flecheFirst victims recognised by the International Criminal Court
Other items
where is published this article:
13
SEARCH
Keywords   go
in