Honduras State publicly acknowledges its responsibility in the extrajudicial execution of trade union leader Herminio Deras


Today, the Honduran government will hold a public act of acknowledgment of international responsibility. The State of Honduras officially admits its responsibility in the extrajudicial execution of trade union leader Herminio Deras in 1983, as well as the torture, harassment, and threats committed against his wife, children, siblings, parents, uncles, nephews, and cousins for over thirty years.

El Progreso, Paris, 12 June 2023. Today, the State of Honduras acknowledges its responsibility in one of the most violent events in its history: the assassination of trade union leader Herminio Deras in 1983, as well as the acts of torture, harassment, and threats against his family for the following 30 years. On this occasion, the Honduran government is organising a public event in El Progreso, the city where Herminio Deras lived before being killed by state agents, and where many of his relatives still reside. The event, which will feature cultural activities in honor of Herminio, as well as the official recognition of the State’s responsibility, will be attended by Herminio’s family and friends, residents of El Progreso, and authorities from the Honduran government, including representatives from the Presidency, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Human Rights of Honduras, and the Attorney General’s Office.

“In memory of our deceased and for the eternal rest of their souls, we welcome the act of public recognition regarding the State’s responsibility in the death of Herminio and the violations of human rights against our family. May this be the beginning of fulfilling their obligations according to the judgment,” emphasised the Deras family. “It is important to us that the story of Herminio and the violence that occurred in Honduras be included in school programs as a guarantee that Herminio and his struggle will not be forgotten,” they added.

For Jimena Reyes, Director of the Americas program at FIDH, “The public recognition in the case of Herminio Deras is historic and particularly important given the context of ongoing killings in Honduras, particularly targeting human rights defenders and social leaders.”

A recognition and reparation of historical magnitude

This event is the result of a judgment notified on 3 October 2022, by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), where FIDH and its member organisation COFADEH represented the Deras family. The case was subject to a public hearing on 11 and 12 May 2022, in San José, Costa Rica. Additionally, the Court ordered the State to design a national policy on historical memory, adapt the existing Penal Code, create and implement a policy for the preservation of archives and sites related to human rights violations committed between the 1980s and the present, incorporate the history of violence that occurred in Honduras into the primary and secondary education curriculum, and provide medical and psychological care, among other reparations.

Herminio Deras’ assassination is an emblematic case within the framework of the National Security Doctrine of the 1980s, a period during which the State systematically and violently targeted political opponents. Prior to his murder, Herminio, who had served as the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party, labor advisor, party member, and educator, was repeatedly persecuted, and his family was subjected to harassment, including arbitrary arrests, raids, and shootings at his home, sometimes in the presence of his children and wife. Following his death, the State’s harassment and persecution of his family continued: his children, siblings, parents, uncles, nephews, and cousins, including four children, were arbitrarily detained by state agents. The death threats and physical and psychological torture endured by many of them led several family members to flee the country.

FIDH and COFADEH hope that the government continues with the prompt implementation of all reparations ordered in the judgment, and continues to make progress in the protection and defence of human rights for all individuals.

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