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HondurasHumanRightsReport

HondurasHumanRightsReport

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Published by Habla Guate

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Published by: Habla Guate on Apr 12, 2011
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02/06/2013

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HONDURAS
Honduras is a constitutional multiparty republic with a population of approximately eight million. Pursuant to November 2009 elections, which theinternational community generally recognized as free and fair, on January 27,Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo assumed the presidency and formed a government of nationalunity representing all five registered political parties. The Lobo governmentundertook efforts to reintegrate the country into the international community andaddress political polarization and human rights concerns that had arisen out of theJune 2009 coup. There were instances in which elements of the security forcesacted independently of civilian control.Human rights problems reported included the following: unlawful killings bypolice and government agents, which the government took some steps toprosecute; arbitrary and summary killings committed by vigilantes and formermembers of the security forces; harsh prison conditions; violence againstdetainees; corruption and impunity within the security forces; lengthy pretrialdetention and failure to provide due process of law; politicization, corruption, andinstitutional weakness of the judiciary; corruption in the legislative and executivebranches; government restrictions on the recognition of some civil society groups;violence and discrimination against women; child prostitution and abuse;trafficking in persons; discrimination against indigenous communities; violenceand discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation; ineffectiveenforcement of labor laws; and child labor.On November 22, the government swore in Ana Pineda as minister of the Secretariat of State for Human Rights and Justice, created by the legislature onSeptember 28 to promote inter-institutional coordination of respect for humanrights and to design policies and programs to strengthen rule of law, access tojustice, and protection of vulnerable groups. On December 20, the NationalCongress allocated 35 million lempiras ($1,842,100), of 50 million lempiras($2,632,500) requested for the operation of the secretariat. 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
 
HONDURAS
2Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From:a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of LifeDuring the year confrontations over a long-standing land dispute between ownersof African palm plantations and protesting rural agricultural workers in the AguanValley, Colon Department resulted in the deaths or injuries of approximately 17agricultural workers, 13 private security guards, and one police officer. Humanrights groups alleged that police and private security guards used disproportionateforce against protesting workers. Plantation owners asserted that on severaloccasions some armed members of the Unified Aguan Agricultural Workers'Movement (MUCA) invaded their plantations, resulting in the killings of securityguards. Following a November 15 confrontation between agricultural workersbelonging to the Peasant Movement of the Aguan (MCA) and private securityguards at the Tumbador Farm, which left at least four agricultural workers dead,the government dispatched a 400-person, civilian-led contingent of police andmilitary officials to Aguan, with the stated mission to disarm the opposing groupsinvolved in the confrontation. The government also dispatched prosecutors toAguan to assist in police investigations, but as of year's end there were no reportedinvestigations of the killings.On February 4, unknown actors abducted and strangled Vanessa Zepeda inTegucigalpa. The victim's parents alleged that her death was connected to herinvolvement in the anticoup Resistance movement (Resistance). On March 15,authorities arrested and charged with murder Rafael Alejandro Sierra Linares forthe killing. By year's end a police investigation had concluded that the killing wasnot related to Zepeda's political activities, and Sierra Linares was in detentionawaiting trial.Human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) Committee of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) reported that on February 15,four unknown men in Comayaguela fatally shot Julio Funes, a member of thewater and sewer workers union (SITRASANAA) and a local leader of theResistance. COFADEH alleged that Funes had received death threats due to hisanticoup activities. Police identified as suspects several gang members and stated
 
HONDURAS
3that the killing was linked to Funes' antigang activism. At year's end there was nofurther information available regarding the killing.COFADEH reported that on February 24, four unidentified persons fatally shotClaudia Larissa Brizuela at her home in San Pedro Sula. The victim's father, PedroBrizuela, alleged that his daughter's death was related to his Resistance activities.A police investigation concluded that there was no indication that the killing waspolitically motivated. At year's end an investigation continued.Human rights groups alleged that on March 12, unknown persons dressed as policeofficers entered the home of Resistance member Ramon Ulises Castellanos andthat several hours later the bodies of Castellanos and Miguel Sauceda were foundby neighbors. Both victims had been shot and killed. Police asserted that theunknown persons were impersonating policemen. At year's end an investigationcontinued.On March 17, unknown persons reportedly shot and killed Francisco Castillo inTegucigalpa. Castillo had a pending application for protective measures with theInter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) due to his allegedanticoup activities. At year's end an investigation continued.On March 23, unknown persons shot and killed Jose Manuel Flores outside thepublic school where he worked in Tegucigalpa. Human rights organizations statedthat Flores was active in the Resistance. Police identified a 14-year-old boy as theprimary suspect. At year's end an investigation continued.On May 26, unknown gunmen shot and killed in Tegucigalpa Pedro AntonioGomez and Oscar Tulio Martinez, respectively the brother and brother-in-law of Arcadia Gomez, minister of social affairs in the government of former presidentJose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya. The NGO Committee for the Defense of Human Rightsin Honduras (CODEH) reported that Antonio Gomez and Martinez were active inthe Resistance, and that gunmen had entered the house asking for Arcadia Gomez.The IACHR had requested that the government provide protective measures to

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