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Press Release: International Call for UN Human Rights Council to Establish Group of Experts to Monitor Violations in Honduras

September 16, 2009

PRESS RELEASE

Honduras: Human Rights Violations

Wednesday, 16 September 2009, 4:34 pm

Press Release: Asian Human Rights Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 15, 2009

ALRC-STM-004-2009

A joint statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre and other International NGOs

Honduras: NGOs Call For Establishment Of International Group Of Experts To Monitor Human Rights Violations

UN Human Rights Council Member-States

September 14, 2009

The undersigned human rights organizations have the pleasure of writing to request that, in the upcoming session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will take place between September 14th and October 2nd, UN Human Rights Council Member-States will both discuss the situation of serious and widespread human rights violations occurring in Honduras, and promote the establishment of a Group of Experts to monitor them in order to prevent the occurrence of future harms to fundamental rights in this country.

On June 28th, 2009, a coup d’état occurred in the Republic of Honduras, warranting severe condemnation from the international community. In this regard, the General Assembly of the United Nations, in its resolution 63/301 of last June 30th, expressed great concern for “the breakdown in the constitutional and democratic order that has led to the endangerment of security, democracy and the rule of law” in Honduras. On the following July 5th, the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) decided to suspend the right of the Republic of Honduras to participate in the OAS as a result of the coup d’état that overthrew president José Manuel Zelaya (See General Assembly of the OAS, “Suspension of Honduras’ Right to Participate in the Organization of American States”, AG/RES. 2 (XXXVII-E/09)).

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visited Honduras between the 17th and 21st of August, 2009. In its preliminary report, the IACHR corroborated the serious effects of the coup d’état on the effective protection of human rights in the country. In this regard, the IACHR highlighted that from the time of the break in democratic order, violations had been committed against each of the rights to life, to personal integrity, to personal liberty, and to freedom of expression in the Republic of Honduras (See IACHR, Observations Prior to the Visit to Honduras, August 21, 2009).

For the undersigned organizations, it is clear that the United Nations Human Rights Council cannot remain inactive in the face of the grave human rights violations that are taking place in Honduras. For this reason, it is imperative that, during its twelfth session, the Council adopts a resolution that firmly condemns the human rights violations resulted from the institutional rupture in Honduras and establishes a Group of Experts – integrated with several thematic special procedures – in order to conduct a fact-finding mission to Honduras to document the human rights violations that have taken place there, as well as to prevent any future harms to fundamental rights. Specifically, the resolution should establish that the visit of the special procedures that would compose the Group of Experts will result in a report containing recommendations to be considered by the Council and that the Group of Experts will articulate and complement their intervention with the work that the IACHR is currently developing on the protection of human rights in Honduras.

History has shown that interruptions in constitutional order allow for systematic threats to human rights. In this regard, the States should actively involve themselves in all of the international spaces available to put an end to the situation currently affecting Honduras. For this reason, the undersigned organizations hope that the UN Human Rights Council Member-States will work actively in the upcoming session to achieve the effective protection of human rights in Honduras.

Yours Sincerely,

African Democracy Forum – Kenya

Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)

Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) – Argentina

Conectas Human Rights – Brazil

Democracy Coalition Project (DCP)

Fundar, Center for Analysis and Research – Mexico

Humanas – Chile

Human Rights Center ProDH – Mexico

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

IDHEAS, Strategic Litigation in Human Rights – Mexico

Instituto de Desenvolvimento e Direitos Humanos – Brazil

Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Development (CIEDUR) – Uruguay

Justiça Global – Brazil

Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights – Mexico

National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH) – Peru

Observatory of Human Rights Public Policies in Mercosur – Uruguay

West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (WAHRDN)

About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.

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