International Mission in Honduras receives denunciations of grave human rights abuses

28 July 2009

International Mission reports a medical emergency of more than 1,000 people trapped by military checkpoints and condemns the assassination of Pedro Magdiel Martinez Salvador.

International Mission attempts to reach the border zone between Honduras and Nicaragua to verify humanitarian emergency of more than 1,000 people
They have received denunciations of grave human rights violations.
The International Mission of Solidarity, Observation and Accompaniment to Honduras condemns the assassination of Pedro Magdiel Martinez Salvador. The 22-old youth, who was a member of the Christian Youth Association, was arrested by police and the army on Friday, July 24, while on his way to the El Paraiso state near the Honduras-Nicaragua border, to participate in protests held in support for the return of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales. Pedro’s body was found Saturday, July 25, in a vacant lot near the El Paraiso police station and witnesses indicated that they had seen signs of torture (see photos). The Honduran army is accused of having committed the assassination. The La Tribuna newspaper published a photo of the youth being dragged by a soldier.
The International Mission will travel today, together with the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras COFADEH (Committee of Family Members of Detained Disappeared in Honduras) to the El Paraiso region to observe the humanitarian emergency in the zone.
Human rights organizations and the National Resistance Front Against the Coup d’État in Honduras have denounced that there are hundreds of people trapped between military checkpoints controlled by the army and the national police. This is taking place in different parts of the highway that runs from Tegucigalpa to the border with Nicaragua, namely in the Alauca and Arenales communities, approximately 10 kilometres from the Las Manos border. They are suffering from hunger, thirst and cold weather, as they are out in the open along the highway. More than one thousand people are facing a humanitarian emergency, as the army and the police will not let protesters receive food and water, which puts their health at great risk.
Furthermore, the de facto government has extended the curfew in an attempt to demobilize the population and to be able to arbitrarily arrest those who participate in the protests against the military coup. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission has expressed its profound concern with the repeated use of states of emergency in Honduras, during which fundamental rights have been suspended, like personal freedom, freedom of association and the right to circulate freely, to leave, enter and stay in Honduran territory. The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH - Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras) presented an appeal yesterday to the Supreme Court of Justice and a complaint to the Special Human Rights Attorney (Fiscalía Especial de Derechos Humanos) against the curfew, affirming that it violates “more than 22 articles of the Constitution”, including the right to food and to circulate freely.
“What we are seeing the creation of a state of terror”, said Nora Cortinas, member of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo-Linea Fundadora, organization of the families of victims of forced disappearances in Argentina, and member of the International Mission.
The International Mission of Solidarity, Observation and Accompaniment travelling today to the El Paraiso State, together with Bertha Oliva of the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras COFADEH, is composed of:

  • Nora Cortiñas, Madres de la Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora / Jubilee South (Argentina)
  • Thomas Wallgreen, Counsellor of the Social Democratic Party (Helsinki)/ Coalition for comprehensive democracy – Vasudhaiva kutumkakam (Finland)
  • Mauricio Valiente, Comisión Española de Ayuda al Refugiado-CEAR (España)
  • Father Efrén Reyes from Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de América Latina
  • Oscar Romero -SICSAL (El Salvador)
  • Tom Kucharz, Ecologistas en Acción (España).

The International Mission of Solidarity, Observation and Accompaniment to Honduras, in which networks, social movements, NGOs, human rights organizations, political authorities from Europe and Latin America are participating, has been organized by the Bi-regional Europe-Latin America and the Caribbean Enlazando Alternativas network.
The International Mission has met with the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras  - CODEH), the Committee of Families of Disappeared Detainees (Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras - COFADEH), the Centre of Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of the Victims of Torture and their Families (Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares - CPTRT), FIAN-Internacional, the Honduran Coalition for Citizen Action (la Coalición Hondureña de Acción Ciudadana - CHAAC). It has also visited the office of the Union of Workers of Beverages and Similar products (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Bebidas y Similares - STIBYS), where last Sunday a device exploded, which is believed to be an attack on the assembly of popular movements who meet there. The Mission accompanied a protest organized by the National Front Against the Coup d’État in Tegucigalpa.
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