Honduras : The State has no legitimacy in the Human Rights Council

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Credit: Martín Cálix

Today, more than 50 national and international civil society organizations sent this letter to UN voting States, urging them to leave their ballot blank when voting for Honduras - one of the world’s deadliest countries for human rights defenders - for the Human Rights Council.

October 13, 2021

The undersigned civil society organizations denounce the Honduran State’s nomination for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Honduras, one of the most dangerous places in the world for human rights defenders, has no legitimacy to implement a mandate to "Promote and protect human rights worldwide". Although the Honduran State is part of a "closed slate" candidacy, we urge voting States to leave the ballot blank when it comes to Honduras, a State manifestly unqualified for the seat, as a symbolic way of denouncing the State’s failure to respect the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and to cooperate fully with the Council.

For years, Honduras has been plagued by assassinations, arbitrary detentions, threats and intimidations against those who courageously defend their rights. Faced with the serious human rights situation, the IACHR has presented three reports on the country in 2009, 2015 and 2019, in which it identifies the persistence of structural problems such as poverty, inequality, corruption and impunity that disproportionately affect the most vulnerable sectors of society, due to the existence of a "selective justice" that, on the one hand, acts belatedly in relation to human rights violations, but on the other hand, acts in favor of the interests of various actors linked to public, political and business power.

On the other hand, there has been little movement on the recommendations made by the former Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, after his visit to Honduras in 2019, and the situation of vulnerability and risk faced by defenders has not diminished. On the contrary, regressive laws, including profound changes to the penal code, have served to deepen the situation of risk faced by defenders, their communities and their families.

Ahead of the Human Rights Council elections on October 14, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights held an engagement event for candidate states on September 8, 2021. During the event, we were surprised that Honduras pledged to cooperate with civil society and States from all regions, when just this year, far from respecting the will and spirit of the UN to protect and promote human rights, Honduras failed to comply with Resolution Opinion No. 85/2020 of the Working Group on Human Rights. 85/2020 of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, concerning José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbín Nahúm Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán, Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz and Jeremías Martínez Díaz (Honduras), known as the Guapinol defenders, which urged the State to immediately release the eight water defenders who have been arbitrarily detained for more than 25 months. The Honduran State not only failed to implement the resolution but has since prolonged without cause the arbitrary detention of the defenders who were fighting to defend their community’s drinking water from mining projects in Carlos Escaleras National Park.

This October 14, UN member states should not promote Honduras, but take action to stop the State from acting against its own people and their rights.

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  • Co-signatories

    ACI PARTICIPA, Honduras
    AIDEVISH, Honduras
    Asociacion APUVIMEH, Honduras
    ASOPAZH, Honduras
    Bandera Socialista, Honduras
    Bufete "Estudios para la Dignidad", Honduras
    Bufete Jurídico Justicia Para Los Pueblos, Honduras
    CADEHO, Alemania-Germany
    Caritas. Diócesis de San Pedro Sula, Honduras
    Casa Visitacion, Iglesia Catolica, Honduras
    Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo CNTC, Honduras
    Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, Honduras
    Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD), Honduras
    Centro de Estudios de la Mujer - Honduras, Honduras
    Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Victimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT), Honduras
    Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, EEUU-USA
    Coalición Contra la Impunidad, Honduras
    Comité de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Publicos de Tocoa, Honduras
    Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, Honduras
    Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-LIBRE), Honduras
    Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), EEUU-USA
    Consejo Indigena Lenca Reitoca, Honduras
    Consejo Indigena Municipal de Santa Elena La Paz, Honduras
    COPINH, Honduras
    Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguan (COPA), Honduras
    Equipo Jurídico por los Derechos Humanos, Honduras
    ERIC-SJ, Honduras
    FIDH en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos
    Foro Honduras Suiza, Suiza-Switzerland
    Fundación San Alonso Rodríguez (FSAR), Honduras
    Grupo Musical Son de Pueblo, Honduras
    Hondurasdelegation, Alemania-Germany
    Iniciativa Mesoamericana de mujeres defensoras de derechos humanos, Mesoamerica
    Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Program, EEUU-USA
    Mesa Nacional de Incidencia para la Gestión de Rieagos MNIGR, Honduras
    MEU, Honduras
    Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ), Honduras
    Movimiento de Diversidad en Resistencia (MDR), Honduras
    Movimiento PATRIA en Acción, Honduras
    OMCT en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos, Internacional
    Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia, Alemania
    Organización Ayudamos Honduras (OAH), Honduras
    OrganizaciÓn Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH), Honduras
    Plataforma Agraria, Honduras
    Plataforma de solidaridad con Honduras, España-Spain
    Plataforma Internacional Contra la Impunidad, Honduras-Suiza
    Red Coiproden, Honduras
    Red de mujeres del Progreso, Honduras
    Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero, Bélgica-Belgium
    Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras , Honduras
    Sede Comunidad LGBTI Ofraneh, Honduras
    Solidaridad con Guatemala de Austria, Austria
    Trócaire, Honduras

  • Member organisations - Honduras
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