Criminalization and repression of peaceful protests

Posted on March 17, 2011


It has come to my attention that the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) has made an urgent call to the international community to demand that Mr. Porfirio Lobo’s regime cease it’s repression and continued criminalization of peaceful protests taking place in Honduras.

On March 17th, in the cities of Tegucigalpa, Comayagua, and Danlí, the preventative police as well as men in civilian clothing driving cars without license plates repressed peaceful demonstrations of teachers and members of the National Front of Popular Resistence (FNRP). According to a preliminary report, as many as 50 people were detained, wounded, and beaten in those demonstrations. On March 18th, there was another violent eviction of protestors in Tegucigalpa, which resulted in the death of teacher Ilse Ivania Velásquez Rodríguez, who was a founding member of COFADEH.

Earlier the same week, COFADEH released an urgent call-out denouncing “harassment and death threats against human rights defenders, including Blanca Azucena Espinoza, president of the Buenos Amigos peasant cooperative in the Aguán Region; Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza, former Human Rights Commissioner of Honduras (CONADEH); Pedro Vicente Elvir, Dagoberto Posadas and Eduardo Argueta Santos, labour union activists; Kenia Oliva and Karol Cardenas, human rights lawyers at COFADEH; Trinidad Sánchez, director of the Alternative Commerce Network (Red COMAL); and Héctor Renán Soto, director of the Civil Society Group (Grupo Sociedad Civil).”

Considering the above mentioned cases, and numerous previous demouncements, we call on the OAS to maintain Honduras’ suspension from the organization, and we call on the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to institute effective measures to ensure full respect for all human rights in Honduras.