The car of a Honduran human rights lawyer has been broken into, her papers searched and a laptop computer stolen. Amnesty International believes that she has been targeted because of her human rights work, and she may be in danger.
On 21 July, Kenia Oliva Cardona,a lawyer with the Honduran human rights organization Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, COFADEH) found that her car had been broken into, documents inside the car searched through and some taken, and a laptop computer stolen from the car boot. Kenia Oliva had left her car parked around 100 metres from the offices of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the capital, Tegucigalpa, while she spent two hours inside the building, reviewing the progress of a number of cases of human rights abuses which had been filed by COFADEH. Many of the cases where COFADEH has filed official complaints allege state security forces’ involvement in the human rights abuses.
On examining her car, Kenia Oliva discovered that a window had been broken so that the car could be opened from the inside, and that all of the compartments inside the car had been searched and the car boot opened. Documents related to a course in human rights law which Kenia Oliva is studying for had been taken, while valuable items such as the car radio had been left behind. The laptop computer stolen from the car boot contained confidential information related to COFADEH’s work.
In November 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on the Honduran authorities to protect Kenia Oliva, along with another 16 members of COFADEH and their immediate families. This order has not been effectively implemented, leaving Kenia Oliva and the other 16 COFADEH members at risk.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
- calling for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the theft of the documents and laptop computer from Kenia Oliva’s car on 21 July, with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice;
- urging that the authorities take immediate steps to fully comply with IACHR order to provide appropriate protection to Kenia Oliva and the other 16 COFADEH staff and their immediate families in line with the IACHR request of 17 November 2009;
- reminding the authorities that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any unfair restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
SOURCE: Amnesty International