Responses to the Coup d'etat in Honduras on Sunday June 28, with special emphasis on producing English-language versions of commentaries by Honduran scholars and editorial writers and addressing the confusion encouraged by lack of basic knowledge about Honduras.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

IACHR: De Facto Government Commited Serious Violations of Human Rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS has issued a report on human rights violations in Honduras. The report, dated 30 December 2009, and made public only recently, entitled "Human Rights and the Coup D'Etat", concludes that the IACHR was able to confirm serious human rights violations since the June 28 coup, including "deaths, arbitrary declarations of states of emergency, suppression of public demonstrations through disproportionate use of force, criminalization of public protest, arbitrary detentions of thousands of persons, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and grossly inadequate conditions of detention, militarization of Honduran territory, a surge in the incidents of racial discrimination, violations of women’s rights, serious and arbitrary restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, and grave violations of political rights."

They conclude that as a consequence of the disproportionate use of force by security forces, that at least 7 deaths have occurred, and that the internal (Honduran) investigations have made no headway identifying and punishing those responsible. They also conclude that the security forces conducted thousands of unlawful detentions without an order from a competent authority, ignored the rights of those detained, and made no written records of these unlawful detentions.

They further concluded that the materiel used and the strategies that the Army, the Police, and the Cobra Special Strike Force deployed revealed a disproportionate use of force which resulted in inhuman treatment and torture of those detained. These forces discriminated against the Garifuna and members of the gay community, and were responsible for sexual violence against women.

The IACHR specifically cites the illegitimate declaration of a state of emergency as an enabling mechanism for the security forces violence. They singled out the authorization of the security forces to search and confiscate broadcast equipment when, in the opinion of the de facto authorities, the media were engaging in behavior prohibited under existing law as "egregious, arbitrary, unnecessary and disproportionate restriction, in violation of international law, of the right of every Honduran to express himself or herself freely and to receive information from a plurality and diversity of sources."

"Based on the American Convention on Human Rights, which the state of Honduras ratified in 1977, the state has an international obligation to prevent violations of human rights and, should they occur, to investigate, try and punish those responsible. Nevertheless, the de facto authorities and the Supreme Court of Honduras consistently deny the existence of those violations. Inactivity and tolerance enable the repetition of human rights violations with impunity."

Finally they conclude that the human rights violations in Honduras are a direct result of the disruption of the constitutional order and that the restoral of the democratic order in Honduras is a requirement for the effective protection and observance of the human rights of all the inhabitants of Honduras.

Still no denunciation of the human rights violations in Honduras by our State Department, who instead announced today that they will participate in the inauguration ceremony for Lobo Sosa on January 27.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't it seem to you that they are low-balling the deaths and serious injuries, RNS? The report lists deaths through September, but there were many more deaths that certainly looked to be assassinations of resistance leaders.

RNS said...

Yes and No. They are being responsible and reporting only on the deaths and injuries they can corroborate, and as a result, their numbers suffer from the limitations of their presence in Honduras. The report was written almost 3 months after their last visit to Honduras, so in fact, although it professes to be about the entire period from June 28 to Dec. 30, it only covers through the end of September. However, that's the way these things go; they always lag the present by a substantial amount.

So yes, I do believe there are still more deaths than the 7 they report, and serious injuries, that happened in October, November, and December after their last visit to Honduras. There should be a follow up report in six months or so.

Still no condemnation of the human rights abuses by the de facto regime from the State Department, though. Their pragmatic human rights policy they bragged about in December hasn't worked very well in this case, or maybe they just didn't bother to apply it? Either way, the result is the same.

Anonymous said...

Another striking omission is that Zelaya was flown out through Palmerola. This has been conceded by the commander of the base, so its omission seems like whitewash.


RNS said...

The Seattle Gay News has an article quoting an anonymous embassy offical as saying the State Department is demanding an investigation into the death of Walter Trochez, so evidence that they persist in the failed course of "pragmatic human rights" by using the private channel which has worked so well for them.

Its time for a public, not backchannel, communication about the human rights abuses in Honduras.