News Equality, Justice and Social Policies

The Basque delegation expresses its concern over human rights violations in Honduras

2023 January 30
  • The delegation had been in Guatemala a few days earlier, accompanying the human rights defender who was taken into the Basque programme for the protection of human rights defenders

Mónica Hernando, director of Human Rights, Victims and Diversity, belonging to the Department of Equality, Justice and Social Policies, led a human rights observation delegation to Honduras between 25 and 27 January to accompany the human rights defender who was welcomed into the Basque Protection Programme for Human Rights Defenders in 2020. The representatives met with LGTBI organisations, human rights organisations and social movements, as well as with Honduran institutions and international bodies to verify the situation in the Central American country.

The delegation is also composed of Ainara Arrieta and Karen Rodriguez, from eLankidetza-Basque Agency for Development Cooperation; the members of the Commission on Human Rights, Equality and Justice of the Basque Parliament, its president Leixuri Arrizabalaga (EA-NV), Iñigo Iturrate (EA-NV), Miren Gallastegui (SV-ES), Oihana Etxebarrieta (EH Bildu), Iñigo Martínez (EP-IU) and Carmelo Barrio (PP-C) and the lawyer Juan Carlos Areizaga; and by members of human rights organisations Sonia Gonzalez (Paz y Solidaridad), Lala Mugica (Aldarte) and Arantza Chacón and Verónica Álvarez (Zehar-Errefuxiatuekin).

During her stay in the country, she has developed an agenda of meetings with non-governmental human rights organisations and social movements, among them Honduras Diversa, an entity which has been followed up by the Programme during this visit; the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared of Honduras, COFADEH; the Honduran Ecumenical Institute of Community Services, INEHSCO; the Quality of Life Association; National Centre of Rural Workers, CNTC; Centre for the Study of Democracy, CESPAD; Council for the Integral Development of Peasant Women, CODIMCA; Honduran Youth Council, CONJUVEH; Reflection, Research and Communication Team, ERIC/Radio Progreso; Diverse Women; National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Honduras; Report without Fear and Via Campesina-Honduras. The international protection organisations PBI-Mesoamerica and Protection International have also participated.

Meetings have been held with Honduran institutions such as the Human Rights Secretariat, the National Congress and CONADEH, the National Human Rights Commission of Honduras, and with international organisations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Spanish Embassy.

Following the meetings held, the testimonies received and the documentation previously analysed, the Delegation issued this communiqué:

ONE - We express our special concern about the increase and high number of murders of LGTBIQ+ people, registering 43 violent deaths in 2022.

We call for effective measures to combat the proliferation of hate speech, hate crimes and prejudices that stigmatise and discriminate against LGTBIQ+ persons.

TWO - We express our concern about the threats, forced evictions, criminalisation, prosecution and stigmatisation of human rights defenders, indigenous and Garifuna peoples, peasant communities and defenders of land, territory and environment, and women’s rights. We express our recognition and solidarity with their peaceful defence of human rights.

In this sense, we recognise the value of having a National Protection Mechanism for human rights defenders and urge that it be provided with the necessary human and material resources to adequately fulfil its mandate from an intersectional and humanising perspective.

THREE – We welcome the repeal of the ZEDES Law, and the approval of the Law for the Prevention, Attention and Protection of Internally Displaced Persons, as well as the Law for the Reconstruction of the Democratic State so that these events do not happen again.

We express our concern about the process that requires the application of the repeal of the ZEDES Law, due to the filing of lawsuits and arbitration by the multinational companies that manage these areas, and the persistence of harassment, evictions and displacements of communities, in order to implement extractive projects without prior compliance with the guarantees and requirements of national and international regulations.

We call for the Honduran government to reverse this situation, guaranteeing the rights of individuals and communities in the face of the interests and actions of state and non-state actors outside the framework of the law.

FOUR – We express our concern about the growing number of feminicides, which in 2022 amounted to 252, and with the alarming figure of one murder per day so far this year, with an impunity rate of 95%.

We welcome the measure taken by the government to elevate the Women’s Institute to a State Secretariat, and the existence of a Commission for the Follow-up of Femicides.

We call for the Honduran government to strengthen the work of this Secretariat in order to design and implement public policies that guarantee women’s rights, and to promote the work of the Commission. We also call for Congress to ratify the CEDAW Protocol.

FIVE – We call for the Honduran government to make progress on sexual and reproductive rights in order to eradicate sexual violence and unwanted pregnancies among girls and adolescents. In this regard, we call for universal access to ECP, respecting women’s freedom of choice.

SIX – Understanding that it is necessary to take appropriate measures to combat the high levels of violence and extortion, we recall the need for these measures to comply with the principles of proportionality, suitability and necessity in order not to infringe on the civil and political rights of citizens.

In this regard, we recommend that in addition to respecting the above principles, the exceptional measures adopted should be limited in time.

SEVEN - We welcome the Memorandum signed by the Government and the UN for the creation of the International Commission against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (CICIH) and hope for its prompt implementation with the maximum guarantees to fulfil its function.

EIGHT - We are grateful for the support of organisations, social movements, Honduran public institutions and international bodies, and the diplomatic corps.  We pledge to remain attentive to the situation of human rights defenders and to ensure that their work is carried out in conditions of security, paying special attention to the commitments made by the Delegation, including the monitoring of the situation of Honduras Diversa.

In Honduras, 28 January 2023

Basque Delegation of Human Rights Observers

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(XII term 2020 - 2024)