Call to End the Repressive Policies of the State of Honduras
Posted on: Thursday, April 7, 2011
MADRE has signed on to this letter to the United Nations from feminist and human rights networks and organizations.
Ms. Navi Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Ms. Rashida Manjoo
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
People from all over the world, representing national, regional and international organizations and networks have signed this letter to express deep concern for repression and human rights violations suffered by the Honduran people. We denounce, in particular, the attacks on and persecution of human rights organizations and women human rights defenders (WHRD) who work tirelessly to condemn the repressive policies, high rates of violence and impunity that prevail in Honduras.
In the past few months, policies such as the “Municipal Education Law” (a step toward privatizing public education), and the suspension of 2010 salaries for more than 6000 teachers and professors, among other measures, have motivated large-scale mobilization and protest across the country and an ongoing teachers’ strike. In a bid to contain the social unrest, the Porfirio Lobo regime declared the strike unlawful and legalized the salary suspensions and the mass firing of those teachers and professors who refused to drop their demands. In addition, the Lobo administration has deployed state security forces to stop, often with brutal violence, the peaceful protests organized by the teachers and diverse social movements:
- Protesters have been attacked using tear gas and physical violence, leaving many wounded and some with bullet injuries.
- On March 18th, as a direct result of the violence carried out by the repressive state agents in Tegucigalpa, teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez was killed.
- On March 24th, the following teachers were detained without charge in Tegucigalpa, and later transferred to a women’s prison in Támara: Ingrid Liseth Sierra, Nuria Evelyn Verduzco, Linda Melina Guillén Fonseca, María Auxiliadora Espinoza and Wendy Méndez. Among them was a professor with a 9 month-old baby from whom she was separated and denied access.
These are not isolated incidents. From the beginning of Mr. Lobo’s term, peaceful protests and demonstrations have been suppressed while persecution against feminist and women’s organizations has only increased. WHRD who sympathize with and support the national resistance movement are especially at risk. Recent examples include: the chain of threats suffered by Sra. Gladys Lanza and el Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz “Visitación Padilla” (Women’s Movement for Peace) since July 2010; the continuous intimidation of women communicators/women active in the media from la Voz de Zacate Grande; on March 28th, Mirian Miranda (president of the Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras) suffered prolonged exposure to tear gas, underwent an arbitrary 12-hour detention and was denied medical treatment; and the assault of members of feminist organization, CESADEH, and the looting of their premises. WHRD also confront an entrenched culture of impunity and violence against women which has left 50+ cases of femicide in 2011 so far.
In 2010, there were five documented WHRD assassinations: two members of the Resistance Front (Claudia Brisuela and Teresa Flores), a member of the la Red de Mujeres Jóvenes de la Colonia “Cruz Roja” (Jessica Gálvez) and two activists from the LGBT movement (Gamaniel Parson and Neraldys).
Mesoamerican feminists and women’s rights activists denounced these attacks before the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2011 where the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders presented a report on the global situation of WHRD. At this event, Honduras pledged to provide security for its people and protect WHRD – a direct contradiction to the ongoing and systematic practice of intimidation, repression and indifference to the assassinations of women who are on the frontline of human rights work.
In light of this urgent situation we call on the United Nations to:
- Denounce the failure of the State of Honduras to comply with signed human rights treaties and agreements;
- Apply all measures possible to end the human rights violations of the Honduran people and the political persecution of the defenders of human rights in Honduras.
- Push the Honduran government for an impartial investigation to identify and prosecute those responsible for the attacks against WHRD in accordance with the human rights obligations of the country.
Archives"Press Releases" Home November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 June 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 March 2013 February 2013 September 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 November 2010 October 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 September 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 January 2009 October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 February 2008 January 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 October 2006 July 2006 June 2006 September 2005 January 2004 August 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Iraqi government 'likely complicit' in persecution of LGBT community (The Guardian, November 19, 2014)
LGBT Iraqis face 'imminent risk of death' under Islamic State (Washington Blade, November 19, 2014)
Iraq: "When Coming Out is a Death Sentence" (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, November 19, 2014)
The World's Obsession With Schoolgirls As Victims, And Why It's Putting Them In Danger (Think Progress, November 9, 2014)
Forbidden Talk - Prostitution in the Middle East (Levant TV, October 7, 2014)