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Honduras, 7/1/2015

Sr. Juan Orlando Hernández
President of the Republic of Honduras

Sr. Oscar Chinchilla Banegas
Attorney General of Honduras

Dear Sirs:

We are outraged at the death of Héctor Martínez Motiño, President of the Workers Union of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (SITRAUNAH) and a lecturer at the Choluteca campus of the UNAH. On June 17 at 9:00pm, unknown gunmen on a motorcycle killed him with twelve bullets as he left work for his home in the municipality of Marcovia in Choluteca Department.

Martínez Motiño was a member of the Honduran Network Against Anti-Union Violence, an effort of labor union activists and the human rights non-governmental organization ACI-Participa. He had denounced university authorities for their abuses of harassment and campaigns to discredit health-related disability problems. There have been three other attempts on his life and numerous anonymous threats. On January 31, The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a “precautionary measure” demanding that the Honduran government provide protection for him and his family, because his union work puts him in danger. He had no police protection at the time of the most recent attack and he previously reported that he continued to feel unsafe.  His assassination is the fourteenth murder of persons with protective measures.

On numerous occasions members of SITRAUNAH on eight university campuses have been victims of death threats, permanent surveillance, harassment and persecution. Most recently, a complaint was filed against the wife and mother of SITRAUNAH member, Donatilo Jiménez, when they inquired about his disappearance from a university work site in April (cf: our letter of June 15).

Therefore; we strongly urge that you,

  • carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the murder of Hector Martínez Motiño, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
  • protect Martínez Motiño’s colleagues and family members in accordance with their wishes;
  • guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.


Brian J. Stefan Szittai        Christine Stonebraker-Martínez