Members of Congress Ask for Suspension of U.S. Aid to the Honduran Military and Police In Light of Human Right Violations

Posted on June 1, 2011

Honduran military training in Texas

Honduran military training in Texas

Eighty-seven (87) members of the US Congress have signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter to Secretary of State Clinton citing human rights violations and urging the State Department and the US Embassy to “to vigorously press the Honduran government to take concrete steps to end abuses by official security forces by suspending, investigating and prosecuting those implicated in human rights violations;” and expressing great concern for “the threats and violence directed against human rights defenders, activists, opposition leaders, members of the LBGT community and journalists in Honduras”.

The letter was initiated by Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and comes in the midst of fast developing events related to the return of Manuel Zelaya Rosales to the country and the coming vote on the readmission of Honduras into the Organization of American States which is strongly supported by Secretary of State Clinton. The Secretary congratulated Porfirio Lobo on the advances in human rights at the same time as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was condemning the violations and impunity and singled out Honduras as one of four countries with a human rights situation that requires attention.

In a May 24th statement from the National Front of Popular Resistance in Honduras, the anti-coup opposition group, noted that they have negotiated the return to Honduras of their political exiles including former President Manuel Zelaya, but regarding human rights, “there have not been advances because the regime of Lobo Sosa has not committed to, nor guaranteed the application of justice to those who violate human rights…”

Meanwhile on May 23, 2011, the internationally respected human rights organization Committee of the Families of the Disappeared Detainees in Honduras (COFADEH) declared a “lack of faith in the institutions of the Honduran government regarding human rights because of the government’s institutionalized violence against its people.”

A spokesman for the Honduras Solidarity Network, a coalition of forty organizations in the United States, Suyapa Portillo of the Solidarity Committee -Comite Solidario Graciela Garcia in Los Angeles stated, “We are very glad to see that there are a growing number of congressional representatives expressing their concern about the situation in Honduras. We are receiving human rights alerts weekly and sometimes several times during a week requiring our network to call Honduran authorities and the US embassy to try to safeguard the lives of members of the political opposition, independent journalists, and small farmers. We applaud the Members’ of Congress action for human rights in and for taking this step towards bringing change in US policy towards Honduras.”

For More Information: Contact Honduras Solidarity Network
Vicki Cervantes, La Voz de los de Abajo, Chicago, (312) 259-5042
Hendrik Voss, School of the Americas Watch, (202) 425-5128