Sr.Julián Pacheco Tinoco, Minister of Security of Honduras
Sr.Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General of Honduras
December 22, 2017
Dear Minister Pacheco and Attorney General Chinchilla:
We strongly denounce the violent repression of protests following the presidential election on November 26, including threats and persecution of members of human rights organizations, illegal raids, and damaged facilities. Reported security incidents include the following:
November 28 to December 4: LGBT Rainbow Association (Arcoiris) experienced several break-in attempts into their office in Tegucigalpa by unknown individuals who wrote a death threat to Arcoiris’ director Donny Reyes.
December 4: The Broad Movement for Justice and Dignity (MADJ) reported that security forces surrounded their headquarters in San Pedro Sula after the organization held a press conference to denounce the repression of protests.
December 6: Security forces raided the house of MADJ members Silvia Maribel Flores Chacón and Oscar Alexi Guillén Paz. MADJ shut down their radio station Radio Dignidad in San Juan Pueblo as a precaution after military police surrounded it, and two military helicopters were seen overhead.
December 8: Security forces raided the MADJ center in Atlántida Department asking for MADJ’s general coordinator, Martín Fernández Guzman. Security forces had already asked about his whereabouts in previous days. Threats against him and MADJ member Selvin Eduardo Merlo Linares were posted on social media and were heard during protests.
December 9: Father Ismael Moreno Coto, director of the independent radio station Radio Progreso, which is sponsored by the Jesuit priests in Honduras, told Amnesty International that their transmission in Tegucigalpa was interrupted; an inspection on December 11 showed that an antenna had been sabotaged.
December 12: military forces in Siguatepeque, Comayagua Department, stopped, registered and harassed approximately 30 members of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras(COPINH), including COPINH general coordinator Bertha Zuniga, in an attempt to prevent them from attending a demonstration.
We strongly urge that you
- initiate a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the illegal raids, persecution, threats and damaged facilities reported by human rights defenders and organizations, publish the results, and bring those responsible to justice
- take all appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of human rights defenders at risk, in accordance with their wishes, as set out in the precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martínez
Marlon R. Tábora Muñoz, Ambassador of Honduras to the US ~ via fax 202 966 9751 or US mail
Heide B. Fulton, Chargé d’Affaires, US Embassy in Honduras ~ via email
Olivia Franken, Honduras Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
James Cavallaro, Rapporteur for Honduras, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
US Senators Brown & Portman
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci, Ryan ~ via email