Concerns over human rights situation in Honduras after the coup d’Etat: FIDH participates in an assessment mission

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is deeply concerned about the human rights situation and democracy in Honduras after the coup d’Etat of 28 June 2009, which resulted in the destitution of the democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya. Last week, FIDH jointly with other 18 organisations [[International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL), Iniciativa de Copenhagen para Centroamérica y México (CIFCA), FIAN International, Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD), Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (CODHES-Colombia), Suedwind-Austria, Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana José Simeon Cañas (IDHUCA-El Salvador), Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Perú (APRODEH), el Instituto de Estudios Políticos sobre América Latina y

The mission, which took place from the 17 to the 24 July 2009 confirmed that serious and systematic human rights violations took place after the coup d’Etat. These violations show a disregard by the de facto government for the human rights treaties signed by Honduras. Some of the documented violations are the result of the application of the Decree 11-2009, which establishes a state of emergency and the restriction of basic rights. Although the Decree states that the state of emergency will last for 72 hours, the situation prevails to-date without any legal basis. Other violations are the result of the militarisation of security and other state institutions. Violations committed by public security forces during demonstrations include: illegal and arbitrary detentions of national and foreign citizens (specially Nicaraguans) and enforced disappearances. Furthermore, this situation has lead to an inactivity of the State’s institutions for the protection of human rights. For instance, the National Commission on Human Rights has not reacted to these violations, nor has the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the Decree 11-2209. Serious limitations to freedom of expression against journalists and certain media were confirmed. The coup d’Etat has also resulted in a deterioration of the human rights situation of several vulnerable groups, such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT).

FIDH confirmed the fact that the coup d’Etat has created a severe polarization in the society. This has resulted in a serious tension within the country, particularly at the border with Nicaragua. If this situation prevails there is a strong risk of the commission of massive violations of human rights and other serious crimes. Therefore an immediate preventive action by the international community is needed to improve the situation in the country.

Taking into account this dramatic situation, FIDH urges:

- All members of the international community:

to continue to condemn the coup d’état and to maintain the suspension of all diplomatic relationships with Honduras;
not to recognise the results of any eventual election organised by the de facto government.

- The European Union:

to suspend the economic cooperation on the basis of Article 56.3.b of the Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Central America of 1993, which foresees this possibility in case of a serious breach of the constitutional order, and to suspend the participation of Honduras on the Generalised System of Preferences plus (GSP plus).

- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a field visit to the country.

- The UN Security Council to publicly condemn the coup d’état and to take measures to re-establish the constitutional institutions.

- The UN Council on Human Rights to adopt a resolution calling for the respect of human rights in the country.

- The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to recall that Honduras is a State Party to the ICC Statute and that should the situation continue to deteriorate through the commission of further violations, it could come under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

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