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Delegation in Honduras to Conduct Human Rights Accompaniment and Observation

November 26, 2009

For Immediate Release: November 24, 2009

Contact: Jenny Atlee, 310-699-0042/301-814-3570

Delegation to Conduct Human Rights Accompaniment and Observation in Lead Up to Honduras’ Elections

20 Representatives of Faith-Based, Labor, and Human Rights Groups Available for Interviews from Honduras, November 25 – December 1st

Hyattsville, MD – A delegation of 20 representatives of faith-based, labor, and human rights organizations will travel to Honduras on November 25, 2009, to conduct human rights accompaniment and observation in the lead-up to the country’s controversial elections on November 29. Motivated due to particular concern about the likelihood of violence around the elections, the delegation’s members hope that their presence will mitigate human rights violations by the Honduran military and police, and that they will be able to document violations that they do witness.

“By providing witness in Honduras, by being there in the presence of people peacefully demonstrating for human rights and a return to democracy, we hope we can prevent further repression and violence,” said Tom Loudon, Co-Director of the Quixote Center, who will be helping to lead the delegation.

This will be the eighth such accompaniment delegation, organized in response to a broad base of Honduran groups in opposition to the coup, since the coup d’etat was first carried out on June 28th.

The delegation’s members also plan to meet with various civil society organizations and U.S. Embassy officials before and after the elections. On November 29, the delegation plans to split up in order to engage in accompaniment and observation in multiple cities and towns in Honduras.

The Honduran elections remain highly controversial, both inside Honduras and in the international community. President Zelaya has said that it is “too late” for free and fair elections to take place, and human rights organizations and popular movements in Honduras have described elections organized under a dictatorship as a “sick joke.” Over 300 Honduran candidates have dropped out, boycotting the elections, a popular boycott and mass demonstrations against the elections are being planned, and most countries and international bodies have stated that they will not recognize the elections or send observers, including the UN, the EU, and the OAS. The U.S. has signaled that it would like to recognize the election results, but whether it will do is uncertain, as a massive crackdown on protests or other bloodshed might make this politically difficult.

Delegation members will be reachable via the following mobile phone numbers in Honduras:

+504-3322-4247
+504-8819-3569
+504-8819-3575

Delegation members, who will be available for media interviews, include:

Domenic Bellissimo, bellisd@osstf.on.ca

Domenic is an organizer and the provincial staff person responsible for Human Rights Committee and International programs, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, which represents nearly 60,000 members including secondary school teachers, support staff and professionals in schools and universities.

Tom Loudon, toml@quixote.org

Tom is Co-Director of the Quixote Center and Program Coordinator for the Alliance for Responsible Trade. Tom has lived in Central America for fifteen of the past twenty years. He worked for two years with Witness for Peace, and subsequently worked in war zones to resettle internally displaced communities organized in to self-defense cooperatives. Post war he worked with a network of peasant organizations to implement alternative technologies.

Mardy Townsend

Mary Townsend is an agronomist interested in sustainable agriculture. She raises grass-fed beef on asmall farm in northeast Ohio. She has been involved in Central America solidarity work since the 1980’s. She spent three years in Nicaragua with Witness for Peace (1987 to 1990) and lived in El Salvador from 1999 to 2001, working for a Salvadoran solidarity organization. She has observed four elections in El Salvador and one in Nicaragua and is a member of the InterReligious Task Force on Central America in Cleveland.

For additional information, please contact Jenny Atlee, 301-699-0042/814-3570 jennya@quixote.org; Rick Arnold, 905-352-2430, comfront@web.ca.

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Quixote Center: PO Box 5206 Hyattsville, MD 20782 http://www.quixote.org

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