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Following Human Rights Council resolution 12/14, entitled “Situation of human rights in Honduras since the coup d’état on 28 June 2009”, which requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit to its thirteenth session a “comprehensive report on the violations of human rights in Honduras since the coup d’état”, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) sent a mission to the country from 18 October to 7 November 2009.
The present report analyses the provisions and measures taken during the state of emergency, raising concerns about the procedures used to impose them, their legality and proportionality, and their impact on the human rights situation. It also presents an analysis of the impact of the coup d’état on the human rights of particular groups and assesses some specific human rights situations with a particular focus on economic and social rights. In this context, the situation of women and human rights defenders was considered in greater detail. The positions and actions taken by key institutions in the context of the crisis, in particular the judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General (Fiscalía) and the Ombudsman, are evaluated in light of their mandate and accountability obligations. The role of the media during the crisis is also briefly analysed.
The mission concluded that the main human rights violations related to the excessive use of force by the security forces and massive numbers of arrests, disrespect for the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality through the imposition of restrictions on fundamental rights, and selective and discriminatory application of Honduran legislation. Some violations were based on pre-existing legal provisions that were considered by OHCHR to be incompatible with international human rights instruments or were not interpreted and implemented in accordance with international human rights law. In this regard the report provides information about the relevant legal framework in Honduras, including legislation relating to a state of emergency, assessing its compliance with international human rights standards.
Based on the analysis of the human rights situation during the period under review, the High Commissioner has formulated recommendations in order to contribute to improving the human rights situation, including concrete measures to address urgent issues, as well as structural problems.