Blanca Sarahí Izaguirre Lozano
National Commissioner for Human Rights of Honduras
CONADEH: Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos
Colonia Florencia Norte, Boulevard Suyapa, contiguo a Banco Lafice
April 22, 2021
Dear Commissioner Izaguirre Lozano:
We are very concerned about the recent break-in by armed men on April 14 of the facilities of the Council for the Integral Development of Peasant Women (CODIMCA) in Tegucigalpa. When there was no response to their request for information about Yasmin López, the General Coordinator of CODIMCA, they tied up and beat two colleagues from the technical team, searched the offices, and took several computers containing confidential information.
This attack occurred after CODIMCA and several other organizations filed an appeal in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) against the dismissal of 22 of the 38 defendants in the Pandora case. This high-level corruption case involved the embezzlement of more than 280 million dollars that were legally allocated to agricultural projects to benefit rural communities living in poverty but were illegally diverted for use in financing the 2013 political campaigns. Other civil society organizations joined CODIMCA in filing the appeal, including the National Center of Rural Workers (CNTC), the Anti-Corruption Coalition, the Peoples' Justice Office, and the Center for the Study of Democracy (CESPAD).
We believe that the attack on CODIMCA members is an attempt to silence voices that denounce corruption and demand justice. This pattern of attacks on civil society organizations and human rights defenders is occurring in the current context of criminalization by the Honduran State of social protest, the right to association, and the free expression of ideas. The future of democracy in Honduras is threatened by these kinds of attacks.
We strongly urge that you
· conduct a thorough investigation into the attack on CODIMCA members, publish the results, and bring the perpetrators to justice
· take all means necessary to protect Yasmin López and all members of CODIMCA, in strict accordance with their wishes
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker-Martinez, Co-Coordinators