Sr.Julián Pacheco Tinoco, Minister of Security of Honduras
Sr.Óscar Fernando Chinchilla Banegas, Attorney General of Honduras
January 22, 2018
Dear Minister Pacheco and Attorney General Chinchilla:
We are outraged at the recent violent crackdown by the Honduran military against journalists who were covering a demonstration by members of the Opposition Alliance in Tegucigalpa on January 12.
In live broadcasts on the channel UneTV, two journalists, Cesar Silva and Rony Martinez, were seen being cornered by uniformed soldiers who hit them with clubs and destroyed their camera equipment. The cameraman, Pedro Amador, was seriously injured. Claudia Mendoza, the correspondent for Univisión's Primer Impacto, was beaten and an attempt was made to take her mobile phone.
Demonstrators were bombarded with tear gas and live bullets. The location of many who were arrested is not known. There is also video and photographic evidence showing security forces launching tear gas at former president Manuel Zelaya and assaulting him when he approached members of the Military Police. Security forces beat lawmaker Jari Dixon, a representative to the National Congress and for the LIBRE (Liberty and Refoundation) party, after he attempted to defend protesters who were being accosted.
These incidents are a violation of the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and also of the American Convention on Human Rights, which states that ". .the murder, kidnapping, intimidation, threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of the media, violates the fundamental rights of persons and severely restricts the freedom of expression. It is the duty of the [member] States to prevent and investigate these facts, to punish their perpetrators and to assure the victims an adequate reparation."
We strongly urge you to:
- protect the safety and journalistic freedom of members of the press covering the political situation in Honduras;
- investigate the assaults on the journalists and demonstrators described above, publish the results and bring the perpetrators to justice;
- guarantee the rights promised in the Convention on Human Rights to all citizens.
Christine Stonebraker-Martínez and Brian J. Stefan Szittai
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
Jason Smith, Human Rights and Labor Representative, US Embassy in Honduras ~ via email
Olivia Franken, Honduras Desk, US State Dept ~ via email
Joel Hernández, Rapporteur for Honduras, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ~ via email
US Senators Brown and Portman ~ via email
US Representatives Beatty, Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci ~ via email