Thursday, August 20, 2009

Human Rights Violations in Honduras

Two separate investigations are being or have been launched by international organizations into the human rights abuses that have taken place in Honduras since the coup two months ago.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Yesterday, Amnesty International released a series of exclusive photos and testimonies (PDF) revealing serious ill-treatment by police and military of peaceful protesters in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. The organization warned that beatings and mass arrests are being used as a way of punishing people for voicing their opposition to the military-backed coup d’etat in June. The photos and testimonies were gathered by an Amnesty International delegation who interviewed many of the 75 people who were detained at the Jefatura Metropolitana Nº3 police station in Tegucigalpa after the police, supported by the military, broke up a peaceful demonstration on 30 July.

Most detainees had injuries as a consequence of police beatings with batons and having stones and other objects thrown at them. When they were arrested, no one was told where they were being taken, the reasons for their detention or the charges against them. All detainees were released a few hours later. “Mass arbitrary arrests and ill treatment of protesters are a serious and growing concern in Honduras today,” said Esther Major, Central America researcher at Amnesty International...

INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States also sent a delegation to Honduras on August 17 which will conduct an on-site visit and investigation until August 21. The delegation is composed of the IACHR President, Luz Patricia Mejía; the First Vice President, Víctor Abramovich; the Second Vice President and Rapporteur for Honduras, Felipe González; Commissioner Paolo Carozza; the Executive Secretary, Santiago A. Canton, and members of the Executive Secretariat. The IACHR established its temporary headquarters in the Intercontinental Hotel of Tegucigalpa and is receiving petitions about human rights violations committed in the context of the June 2009 coup d'état. It will also travel to different regions of Honduras to gather information. At the conclusion of its visit, the IACHR will inform the national and international community about its preliminary observations.

Photo: Honduran student beaten by police during a peaceful demonstration, courtesy Amnesty International

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