Organizational sign-on letter regarding Honduras

Posted March 18th, 2010

The last joined other organizations in signing onto this letter to Members of Congress:

During her trip to Latin America earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she had sent members of Congress a letter informing them that the administration would be restoring aid to Honduras.   “The Honduras crisis has been managed to a successful conclusion” and “without violence”, she told reporters accompanying her on her trip.

Secretary Clinton also stated that the government of Porfirio Lobo had “moved quickly to implement many of the recommendations that (…) were incorporated into the [Oct. 30] Tegucigalpa accord”, including “a truth commission that will be set up.”

In order to put these statements into perspective, we would like to share with you a few short but important recent documents published by respected international and Honduran human rights organizations.  They present a picture of recent developments in Honduras that contrasts sharply with Secretary Clinton’s characterizations, and also raise important issues surrounding the current proposal for a “truth commission”.

·        Although Secretary Clinton declared that the Honduras crisis has been “without violence”, the unfortunate reality is that violent attacks directed at groups and individuals opposed to the coup d’état have been a regular occurrence since the June 28th coup and continue to this day.

o   According to the respected Honduran human rights organization COFADEH, at least forty anti-coup activists have been murdered since June 28.

o   On March 8, 2010 the Inter American Commission on Human Rights issued a release condemning a series of attacks against activists and their relatives that have occurred since the inauguration of Porfirio Lobo on January 27th.  These include three murders, a number of kidnappings, arbitrary detentions, acts of torture and illegal raids.

o   On March 3rd, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the Honduras Attorney General stating that these attacks “could generate a chilling effect that would limit the exercise of basic political rights in Honduras.”

·        The Lobo government has indeed taken steps to establish a “truth commission.” However, serious doubts have been raised regarding the legitimacy and credibility of the commission proposal that is being jointly promoted by the Lobo government and the US administration.    The “Platform for Human Rights” – a coalition that includes each of Honduras’ key human rights organizations – issued a statement on Feb. 18.  The coalition considers that “the conditions for such a commission do not exist” given that, among other reasons:

o   “There is no political will to stop the violation of human rights.  Violations continue to be perpetrated against those who (…) condemn the coup d’etat.”

o   The Commission is not being created in conformity with respected international standards applicable to truth commissions.  For example, there has been no consultative process involving victims and human rights organizations so as to define the mandate or the type of violations to be investigated.”

o   “State officials, who are authors or accomplices to human rights violations, continue to hold office and could as a consequence be involved in the investigation process.”

In her statements to the press in Costa Rica, Secretary Clinton noted that many governments in the hemisphere have pursued a different course than the US administration and have chosen not to recognize the Lobo government.  “I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” she said, “but that’s their right, to wait.”

Notwithstanding these statements, we believe that the ongoing attacks against political activists in Honduras should make the administration think twice about normalizing relations with the Lobo government.  The administration should also take note of the strong criticism that has been raised by Honduras’ most important human rights organizations regarding the Lobo government’s  proposal for a Truth Commission.

Best regards,

Quixote Center
United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO/CLC (USW)
Just Foreign Policy
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas—Institute Justice Team
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Pax-Christi USA- : National Catholic Peace Movement
SOA Watch
Witness for Peace
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)
Fellowship of Reconciliation Task Force on Latin America and the
Caribbean
Alliance for Global Justice
Nicaragua Network
Campaign for Labor Rights
International Action Center
May I Speak Freely Media
Forging Alliances South and North (ForAL)
Committee in Solidarity with the Honduran Resistance – Boston
8th Day Center for Justice
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
La Voz de los de Abajo
U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities
USLEAP- US Labor Education in the Americas Project
Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras-Los Angeles
Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice
(Chicago)
Veterans For Peace, Chapter 02, Jersey City, NJ
Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, L.A.
Latin America Solidarity Committee, Milwaukee
Teachers for Social Justice of Chicago
CAMI
Nonviolence International
Loyola University Department of Social Justice
Peace Action Task Force of Hyde Park
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
Anti-War Committee (Minneapolis, MN)
Colombia Action Network
Racine/Kenosha Central America Solidarity Coalition
PATRIA MORAZAN (Houston, Texas)
Minnesota Hands off Honduras
Latin American Solidarity Coalition
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee
International Solidarity Movement-Chicago chapter
Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
Direct Action for Rights and Equality
Rights Action