Honduras

Concerns regarding the possible readmission of Honduras to the OAS

Letter to the OAS Ambassadors endorsed by 50 organizations

Through media accounts, we have learned that several governmental representatives have commented on the need to evaluate the immediate reinstatement of Honduras into the OAS. One issue that may have been instrumental in their political evaluation is the cancellation of outstanding lawsuits against former President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

In this regard, it is first important to clarify that the judicial authorities' decision only involves a cancellation of judicial proceedings resulting from procedural irregularities and does not pertain to the definitive termination of the process. This means that the prosecution could file the same charges against the former President when he returns to Honduras (provided they have not expired).

Wed, 06/01/2011

ORIGINAL IN SPANISH

 

May 16, 2011

Distinguished Ambassadors

Permanent Missions to the Organization of American States

 

Ref: Readmission of Honduras to the OAS

 

 

Your Excellencies:

 

We would like to bring to your attention our concerns regarding the possible readmission of Honduras to the Organization of American States (OAS).

 

Through media accounts, we have learned that several governmental representatives have commented on the need to evaluate the immediate reinstatement of Honduras into the OAS. One issue that may have been instrumental in their political evaluation is the cancellation of outstanding lawsuits against former President Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

 

In this regard, it is first important to clarify that the judicial authorities' decision only involves a cancellation of judicial proceedings resulting from procedural irregularities and does not pertain to the definitive termination of the process. This means that the prosecution could file the same charges against the former President when he returns to Honduras (provided they have not expired).

 

In addition, we consider that in evaluating the need to readmit Honduras to the OAS, priority should be placed on the adherence to democratic principles, which are the raison d'être of the OAS and should guide its actions. And in this sense, the resolutions adopted by this body in relation to the situation in Honduras, like those of the OAS-sponsored mission, are particularly important.

It is important to remember the condemnation of the coup d’Etat that occurred on June 28, 2009, which led the General Assembly of the Organization to resolve not to recognize any government that would arise from this unconstitutional breach, and to reaffirm that the representatives appointed by the constitutional and legitimate government of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales are the representatives of the State of Honduras to the Organization of American States.

The breakdown of the constitutional order that took place in June 2009 had the backing of   high ranking officials belonging to institutions, which are key for the rule of law. Thus, the Supreme Court, the National Congress of the Republic, the Attorney General's Office and even the National Commissioner for Human Rights endorsed, or had an active and decisive participation in the execution of the coup. Nevertheless, today these individuals remain in their positions, creating serious doubts about the independence and impartiality with which they perform their functions, and the existing guarantees for democratic life.

 

Additionally, under the administration of Porfirio Lobo, far from there being any establishment of accountability, high-ranking military officers who were directly involved in the coup now enjoy key positions within the government. This has led the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to express its concern in its preliminary observations regarding its visit to Honduras ​​from May 15-18, 2010:

124.          In this effort to restore democratic institutions, the Commission observes with concern that high-ranking Army officers or former members of the Army against whom complaints were brought for their participation in the coup d’état, are occupying executive positions in government offices under the administration of Porfirio Lobo. Thus, Division General

Venancio Cervantes is Director General of the Bureau of Immigration and Alien Affairs (he was Deputy Head of the Joint Chiefs at the time of the coup d’état); Brigade General Manuel Enrique Cáceres is Director of Civil Aeronautics; former General  Nelson Wily Mejía is in charge of the Bureau of the Merchant Marine, and former General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez is manager of the Honduran Telecommunications Company (Hondutel) (he was Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces at the time of the coup d’état).

 

Moreover, in the context of the coup d’etat and its aftermath, countless human rights violations have taken place, mainly affecting people who protested the overthrow. In this sense, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and personal freedom were arbitrarily and unduly restricted. In addition, many people lost their lives while advocating for democracy. However, none of these violations have actually been punished.

In assessing the possible reinstatement of Honduras to the OAS, it is essential to not only address the persistence of the structures that made the coup possible, as well as the lack of an adequate response to human rights violations, but to  also take in to account the effective implementation of the conclusions and recommendations made by the High-Level Commission appointed by the General Assembly to analyze the situation in Honduras.

As you are aware, in its report on July 29, 2010, the High Level Commission noted the importance of observing real progress in areas including the following:

1.  To put an end, in accordance with Honduran law, to the legal actions initiated against former President Zelaya and his associates during the de facto regime

2. Steady progress in the investigations into the murder of several people, including journalists and human rights defenders

3. The adoption of measures to put an end to  threats and harassment against human rights defenders, journalists and other media personnel, teachers and members of the National Popular Resistance Front, and judges who took part in  activities against the coup d´état

4. The effective implementation of mechanisms for enforcement of precautionary measures issued to protect the lives and safety of many people who are at risk

5. The cessation of impunity for human rights violations, including those verified by the IACHR and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

However, to date there has not been full compliance with the points above; that is to say, there has been a failure to comply with the minimal conditions established by the OAS to justify the lifting of Honduras’s suspension. Any dialogue that takes place within the OAS to discuss the reinstatement of Honduras should consider, as a minimum, the points established by the High Level Commission.

From the perspective of human rights and the defense of the right to democracy, we believe that repairing the damage caused by the events that took place in the context of the Honduran coup does not only include the restitution of Manuel Zelaya’s rights-- though these rights certainly need to be restored --but also the restoration of the rule of law. For this to happen, it is essential to have an autonomous, unbiased and efficient system for the protection of rights, which takes concrete actions to combat impunity, and ensure an immediate end to acts of persecution and repression against sectors critical of the government.

 

Any assessments regarding Honduras cannot ignore the country’s international human rights obligations, or the statements and recommendations issued by various international bodies, particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council under the UN’s Universal Periodic Review.

Undoubtedly, this discussion goes beyond the reinstatement of a country that disrespected the basic principles governing the OAS, but Honduras’s readmission to the OAS may in fact become an unfortunate precedent, endorsed by an inadequate response to a coup d’état, with ongoing consequences for democracies in the Americas. We therefore believe that this is an historic opportunity for the OAS to provide a sound response to the guarantee of rights under the Inter-American Democratic Charter. We trust that it will not be wasted.

Sincerely,

 

Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia - Honduras

Asociación para una vida mejor de las personas infectadas/afectadas por el VIH-SIDA en Honduras (APUVIMEH)

Centro de Derechos de Mujeres de Honduras (CDM)

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH) - Honduras

Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos - Perú Equidad

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas (CODEMUH)

Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos de Honduras (COFADEH)

Comité por la Libre Expresión C-LIBRE - Honduras

Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (CODHES) - Colombia

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC) - Honduras

Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (FIDH)

Frente de Abogados y Abogadas en Resistencia - Zona Norte - Honduras

FIAN Internacional

GMB – General Union of Great Britain

Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” (IDHUCA) - El Salvador

Instituto de Estudios Políticos para América Latina y África (IEPALA) - España

Organización Fraternal Negra (OFRANEH) - Honduras

Red Lésbica Cattrachas - Honduras

Wereldsolidariteit/Solidarité Mondiale – WSM, Belgium

ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES RECEIVED ON OR BEFORE MAY 20, 2011:

Asociación LGBT Arco Iris - Honduras

Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ)

Asociación de Capacitación e Investigación para la Salud Mental (ACISAM) - El Salvador

Asociación de Jueces para la Justicia y Democracia (JUSDEM) - Perú

Asociación para el Estudio y Promoción de la Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM) - Guatemala

Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (PRO-BÚSQUEDA) – El Salvador

Centro de Estudios de la Mujer (CEM-H) - Honduras

Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura y sus familias (CPTRT) - Honduras

Centro Europeo y Latinoamericano para el Diálogo Social (CELDS)

Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH) – Nicaragua

Centro para la Promoción de Derechos Humanos "Madeleine Lagadec" - El Salvador.

Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)

Colectivo de hondureños en resistencia del norte de California

Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH) – Honduras

El Centro Internacional de Investigación en Derechos Humanos (CIIDH) - Guatemala

Foro de Mujeres por la Vida – Honduras

Friendship Office of the Americas

Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho (FESPAD) – El Salvador

Fundación Hermano Mercedes Ruiz (FUNDAHMER) – El Salvador

Fundación Salvadoreña para la Reconstrucción y el Desarrollo (REDES) El Salvador

Hermanas de la Misericordia de las Américas - Equipo de Justicia

Instituto de Estudios de la Mujer “Norma Virginia Guirola de Herrera” (CEMUJER) – El Salvador

Judges for Judges (Rechters voor Rechters) – The Netherlands

La Asociación Internacional por la Paz en Colombia y el Mundo (AIPAZCOMUN)

La Coordinación Ecuménica de la Iglesia de las y los pobres en El Salvador

(CEIPES)

Mesa Nacional Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias CLAI - Honduras

Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz "Visitacion Padilla" - Honduras

Movimiento de Profesionales y Técnicos Patria Exacta – El Salvador

Oficina en Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA)

Servicio Internacional Cristiano de Solidaridad con los pueblos de América Latina “Oscar Romero” (SICSAL)

CEJIL Testifies About Crimes Against Honduran Journalists in U.S. Congress

Hearing Before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

La Directora del Programa de CEJIL para América Central y México, Alejandra Nuño, expuso la situación de peligro que viven los periodistas hondureños. The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) expressed its concern over the assassination of eight journalists this year as well as the prevalence of threats and harassment the media face in Honduras during a hearing on press freedoms in the Americas Wednesday, June 16, before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

Read here the document.

Read here CEJIL's comments on the decree creating the Truth Commission in Honduras.

Thu, 06/17/2010

La Directora del Programa de CEJIL para América Central y México, Alejandra Nuño, expuso la situación de peligro que viven los periodistas hondureños.

Washington, D.C., June 17, 2010

 

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) expressed its concern over the assassination of eight journalists this year as well as the prevalence of threats and harassment the media face in Honduras during a hearing on press freedoms in the Americas Wednesday, June 16, before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

Alejandra Nuño, CEJIL’s director for Central America and Mexico, described the increasing risk for journalists in Honduras.  She noted that three journalists were assassinated between 2003 and the middle of 2009, while from the time of the coup to the present, nine have been slain.

“These attacks on the media have had a profoundly chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas in Honduras, making national reconciliation and the restoration of a meaningful democracy a distant dream,” said Nuño, who also expressed her concern over indications that these murders will be added to the “growing list of cases remaining in impunity.”

All branches of government bear responsibility when journalists face persecution, CEJIL stated.  It is the state’s obligation to prevent such occurrences and punish those responsible.   “An effective investigation, along with other protective measures, can, indeed, prevent murders and other violent incidents,” Nuño stated.

CEJIL recommended that the members of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere send a message to the Honduran government that persecution of the media and social communicators must stop and that those who committed crimes against them must be prosecuted.  CEJIL also recommended the establishment in Honduras of an office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Between March and June 2010, journalists Joseph Hernández, Nahúm Palacios, Jorge Alberto Orellana, David Meza, Manuel Juárez, José Bayardo Mairena, Luis Antonio Chévez, and Luis Arturo Mondragón have been assassinated.  Last July Gabriel Fino Noreiga was also killed.  No one has been prosecuted for any of the cases.

Meanwhile, threats and harassment of journalists in Honduras continue.  Reporters for Radio Progreso, La Voz de Occidente, and La Voz de Zacate Grande, all stations critical of the government, have faced repeated threats this year.

Also participating in the hearing were Catalina Botero, the special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; Marcel Granier, president of Radio Caracas Televisión; Eduardo Enríquez, editor-in-chief of Nicaragua’s La Prensa; and Alejandro Aguirre, president of the Inter-American Press Association.

Read here the document.

Read here CEJIL's comments on the decree creating the Truth Commission in Honduras.

Press contact: Mauricio Herrera

Tel: (202) 445-46-76

mherrera@cejil.org

www.cejil.org

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) is an advocacy of human rights in the Americas. CEJIL's main objective is to ensure full implementation of international human rights standards in the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), through the effective use of the Inter-american human rights system and other international protection mechanisms. CEJIL is a nongovernmental nonprofit with consultative status at the OAS, the Organization of the United Nations (UN) and observer status with the African Commission on Human Rights.

Considerations on the Implementation of the Truth Commission in Honduras

The Commission is Born with Serious Deficiencies

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional

CEJIL has analyzed the decree creating the Truth Commission in Honduras and has set out the main aspects of this initiative, which contradict international standards on transitional justice and truth commissions.
Read here the complete document.

Mon, 05/17/2010

The implementation of the Truth Commission and its weaknesses pointed out in this document should not be a cause for celebration. Furthermore, this announcement can not facilitate the unconditional reinstatement of Honduras into the international community.

The legal and economic limitations observed in the implementation's beginning, compromises the reliability of its operations and its resulting conclusions. Those limitations could generate a substantial amount of outrage and concrete damages that would not contribute to a reliable reconciliation process. The entire State of Honduras – and the Executive power included – still does not demonstrate a serious political will to clarify the facts that occurred on June 28. Moreover, Honduras does not hold the individuals who were involved accountable. In fact, the current steps taken are contradictory, weak and question the independence of those who led the de facto regime.

CEJIL calls for the various national and international stakeholders to urge Honduras to correct the Truth Commission in accordance with the existing international standards.

Read here the complete document. (Available in Spanish)

 

CEJIL Condemns Dismissal of Judges Who Opposed Coup D’Etat

The Court is Sending a Message Against Independent Judges

Judges Luis Chévez, Ramón Barrios, Guillermo López y Tirza Flores

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) strongly condemned action by the Honduran Supreme Court to fire four judges and one public defender for having criticized last June’s coup and the Supreme Court’s support for it.

Thu, 05/06/2010

Judges Luis Chévez, Ramón Barrios, Guillermo López y Tirza Flores

Washington. D.C. May 6, 2010

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) strongly condemned action by the Honduran Supreme Court to fire four judges and one public defender for having criticized last June’s coup and the Supreme Court’s support for it.

The action by ten of the fifteen magistrates of the high court in Honduras punishes the court personnel for exercising their guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and association, CEJIL stated.  Moreover, it sends an intimidating message to any other judicial employee who challenges the authorities who supported the coup.  The court’s decision seriously weakens the independence of the judiciary in Honduras.

“The dismissal of the court personnel demonstrates yet again the tremendous contradictions within the Honduran government, which on the one hand announces the creation of a controversial truth commission while simultaneously firing judicial employees for exercising their rights and acting with independence,” said Alejandra Nuno, CEJIL director for Central America and Mexico.  “It makes clear that in Honduras, instead of room for a free exchange of ideas, there is only intolerance and repression of those who think differently from the authorities,” she added.

Those dismissed are judges Adán Guillermo López Lone, Luis Alonso Chévez de la Rocha, and Ramón Enrique Barrios, appeals court judge Tirza Flores, and public defender Osman Fajardo Morel.

López, Chévez, and Fajardo are accused of having participated in demonstrations against the coup.  Barrios was dismissed for publishing a newspaper article in which he used legal arguments to challenge the Supreme Court’s position that the ouster of elected President Manuel Zelaya was constitutional.  Judge Flores was dismissed for having presented an appeal on behalf of Zelaya and other officials who were overthrown.

All four officials are members of the Association of Judges for Democracy, of which López is president.

“This marks a reversal in the process of building judicial independence,” said Magistrate Flores.  “The Court is sending the message that judges had better not be critical, but instead submissive and obedient, and that honest, responsible, and independent judges only get in the way,” she added.

CEJIL will push for the restitution of the dismissed court personnel at all available judicial, political, and diplomatic levels, to avoid the consolidation of a new blow to democracy and the independence of the judiciary in Honduras.

 

For more information, please contact:

Mauricio Herrera Ulloa

Communications Director

Tel:  (202)-319-3000

mherrera@cejil.org

www.cejil.org

CEJIL refutes the Law Library of Congress in Forbes

Report about the coup in Honduras

Viviana Krsticevic

Juan Méndez

Executive Director of CEJIL, Viviana Krsticevic, and Board of Directors member, Juan Méndez, refuted in an article published in the online version of Forbes magazine, a report  from the Law Library of Congress, which alleged that the legislative power of Honduras had the authority to remove president Manuel Zelaya.

In the article, Krsticevic and Méndez, criticize the omissions and weaknesses in the sources and analysis of the report. They argue that by subscribing to those arguments the Law Library of Congress enters into complicity with the illegal actions of an authoritarian and undemocratic goverment.

Complete Article

 

Thu, 10/22/2009

Viviana Krsticevic

Juan Méndez

La directora ejecutiva de CEJIL, Viviana Krsticevic, y el miembro del Consejo Directivo, Juan Méndez, refutan en un artículo publicado en la versión en internet de la revista Forbes un reporte de la Biblioteca Jurídica del Congreso de Estados Unidos, según el cual el poder Legislativo de Honduras tenía la autoridad de remover al presidente Manuel Zelaya.

En el artículo, Kristicevic y Méndez critican omisiones y debilidades en las fuentes y en el análisis del reporte y afirman que, al suscribir esos razonamientos, la Biblioteca Jurídica del Congreso de Estados Unidos entra en complicidad con las actuaciones ilegales de un gobierno autoritario y antidemocrático.

Artículo completo

 

Honduran de Facto Government Violates Human Rights

International Mission in Honduras
Thu, 09/03/2009

After the coup d’etat of June 28, 2009 that dramatically altered the country’s constitutional order, a grave situation of human rights and restrictions on democratic freedoms has appear in Honduras.  There are clear difficulties and obstacles to access justice and freedom of the press is severely limited.

The final report by the international Mission to observe the human rights situation in Honduras, which visited the country from July 17 to the 26, describes the results and findings carried out by 15 participant organizations. (Available in Spanish).

CEJIL condemns the assassination of Honduran judge and demands investigation

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) condemns the assassination of Judge Mireya Mendoza, who was a judge of the Trial Court in the city of El Progreso, Honduras, and who also was the Assistant Secretary of the Board of the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD).

 

Judge Mendoza was assassinated on July 24, 2013, around noon, while she was driving her vehicle. Unknown subjects shot her about 20 times.

Mon, 07/29/2013

San José, July 29, 2013

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) condemns the assassination of Judge Mireya Mendoza, who was a judge of the Trial Court in the city of El Progreso, Honduras, and who also was the Assistant Secretary of the Board of the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD).

Judge Mendoza was assassinated on July 24, 2013, around noon, while she was driving her vehicle. Unknown subjects shot her about 20 times.

The assassination of the Judge has not been the only one against justice operators in this country.  In 2010, Judge Olga Mariné Laguna was killed, and on May 27, 2011, Raúl Enrique Reyes Carbajal was also killed. He was the coordinator in Honduras for the Public Prosecutor in Puerto Cortes, and only days before taking office he had been the Prosecutor against Organized Crime in San Pedro Sula.

For its part, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in the year 2011 when it published its Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, expressed its concern regarding the 22 Honduran judges who signaled that they had been threatened to death because they dealt with delicate cases related to organized crime, youth groups, or gangs.

Also, the context of impunity that prevails in Honduras is worrisome. Recently, the former Attorney General, Luis Rubí, declared before the National Congress that 80% of homicides committed in the country are left in impunity due to the investigation bodies’ lack of capacity.

Nevertheless, the Honduran State has the legal duty to investigate violations to the right of life. In this sense, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has established that States should “commence ex officio and without delay, a serious, fair, and effective investigation (…) with all available means and should be designed to establish the truth and to investigate, prosecute, and punish all the persons who are liable for the facts”.

“The assassination of Judge Mendoza is extremely worrisome because of the inevitable chilling effect on all those persons who are committed to the search for justice. If there is no investigation and punishment of all those responsible- both material and intellectual-, the State would be tolerating these acts and with that it would intimidate the independent and impartial work of judges and other justice operators” declared Marcia Aguiluz, CEJIL’s Program Director for Central America and Mexico.

CEJIL calls upon the Honduran authorities to assign all the necessary resources to effectively investigate the assassination of Judge Mireya Mendoza and punish those responsible. We also insist that the authorities create a protection mechanism for justice operators with the objective of preventing this type of crime and fully guaranteeing judicial independence.

Contact in Costa Rica

Marcia Aguiluz

Program Director for Central America and Mexico

Tel. (506) 2280-7473 / 7608

 

Foto crédito: Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia

Jeannette Kawas / Honduras

Jeannette Kawas Jeannette Kawas was a Honduran environmental activist assassinated in 1995 due to her work to stop illegal deforestation and to protect the state of the environment in the Tela bay region, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras.

Her death was the first in a series of acts of aggression, threats and executions against Honduran environmentalists.

She created and, until her death, presided over the Foundation for the Protection of Lancetilla, Punta Sal, Punta Izopo and Texiguat (PROLANSATE). From that position, she denounced the intentions of people and businesses for their involvement in illegal activity in Punta Sal, the contamination of the lagoons and the deforestation of the forests in the region.

Under her leadership, PROLANSANTE advocated to the National Congress that Punta Sal be considered a National Park, denounced the illegal exploitation of the trees and the damaging of diverse protected zones; she also opposed the business projects that threatened the environment.

Days before she was assassinated, Jeannette organized a march in the city of Tela to protest the initiative of the government to grant property deeds in the Punta Sol National Park.

In the night of February 6, 1995, two armed men approached her at her home and shot her.  No one has been arrested for the crime.

In 2003, CEJIL and the Reflection, Investigation and Communication team from the Jesus Company in Honduras (ERIC) brought the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In April of 2009, the Inter-American Human Rights Court condemned Honduras for violating the human rights of Jeannette Kawas.

The court concluded that the assassination of Mrs. Kawas occurred in a context of aggression and threats against people that defend the environment, and was a consequence of their job to protect the environment, which was interfering with strong economic interests. The sentence determined that the crime “was facilitated by the intervention of persons that acted under the direction of state agents.”

The decision of the Court ordered that the government clear up the circumstances around the death of the environmental activist, compensate the families, implement a national campaign that recognizes the importance of the work performed by people who defend the environment, and to construct a monument in memory of her in the Punta Sol National Park.

Civil Society Letter to President of the Permanent Council

Transparency in the OAS

Distinguished Ambassador Pary Rodríguez:

 

The signatory organizations address your office in order to express our concern about the lack of Civil Society participation in the above-mentioned process, an issue that we consider of great importance.

As already known to you, during the OAS General Assembly, which took place this past June in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the regional States approved Resolution AG/RES.2761 in which they welcomed the report of the Special Working Group to Reflect on the Workings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with a View to Strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System.  Additionally, the Resolution instructed the Permanent Council, on the basis of the report, “to draw up proposals for its application in dialogue with all the parties involved,”[1] further providing that said proposals should be presented for consideration before a Special Session of the General Assembly no later than the first quarter of 2013.

 


Wed, 06/20/2012

Distinguished Ambassador Pary Rodríguez:

 

The signatory organizations address your office in order to express our concern about the lack of Civil Society participation in the above-mentioned process, an issue that we consider of great importance.

As already known to you, during the OAS General Assembly, which took place this past June in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the regional States approved Resolution AG/RES.2761 in which they welcomed the report of the Special Working Group to Reflect on the Workings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with a View to Strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System.  Additionally, the Resolution instructed the Permanent Council, on the basis of the report, “to draw up proposals for its application in dialogue with all the parties involved,”[1] further providing that said proposals should be presented for consideration before a Special Session of the General Assembly no later than the first quarter of 2013.

In accordance with this mandate, the Permanent Council included this issue in its regular meeting this past June 28th, establishing the formal initiation of the process.  Several days later, the OAS Secretariat for External Relations, through its Department of International Affairs, publicly announced this decision, informing Civil Society that the “Permanent Council will hold informal meetings to define its methodology, work plan, agenda and the manner of consultation.”[2]

In this regard, the signatory organizations consider that the manner in which Civil Society participation has been incorporated into the discussions ordered by the General Assembly in its Resolution does not constitute a process of real and effective participation consistent with the principles the OAS has established on the issue.

The OAS has recognized on numerous occasions the importance of the participation of Civil Society organizations.  In fact, the Inter-American Democratic Charter reaffirms the principle that the promotion of Civil Society participation in OAS activities strengthens democratic institutions in the region; similarly and on the occasion of the 5th Summit of the Americas, held in Puerto España, the regional heads of State expressed their commitment to stimulating full participation of Civil Society in the Inter-American System (¶ 94).[3]

More recently, during the last General Assembly, the States of the region adopted Resolution AG/RES. 2736 (XLII-O/12),[4] in which they committed to broadening and guaranteeing dialogue with and participation of civil society through various means.

In light of the above and given the importance of the issue being discussed by the Permanent Council, namely the strengthening of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, the signatory organizations consider that the resulting process to be adopted must ensure adequate means, opportunities and forums so that the participation of Civil Society may be real and effective and guarantee a true dialogue amongst all parties involved.

In this sense, we respectfully appeal for the re-adoption of the standards fixed by the General Assembly with respect to Civil Society participation and that, at minimum, the following be guaranteed:

  • Transparent discussions at the regional level (within the Permanent Council or other instance at the OAS), as well as within the States;
  • Consultative procedures are implemented in the States, extending beyond country capitals particularly in larger countries where it may be more difficult for Civil Society to respond to invitations in the capital;
  • Recognition of the value of using resources from the Specific Fund to finance the participation of Civil Society organizations and other social actors in discussions about the issue of strengthening the Inter-American Commission  To contemplate and implement innovative methods, other than in-person interventions during the Permanent Council sessions that go beyond the formal circulation of documents.  Tools such as real-time long distance participation and live webcast transmissions of all discussions should be guaranteed as a minimum to enable informed contributions with respect to the various issues that are discussed
  • Ensure a dynamic that facilitates dialogue during meetings and in each of the debates established by the Permanent Council that would not only be by formal written participation.  It is clear that participation cannot be reduced to occasional moments, but rather must be ensured throughout the process, something which was not previously guaranteed in the procedures prior to the discussion of the Working Group report.  Given that the very same day the IACHR was still conducting hearings, numerous organizations and civil servants from various countries were unable to participate in the so-called dialogue[5]

Based on the aforementioned, we consider it critical that, as a minimum and prior to any substantive discussion on the issue, during the upcoming session of the Permanent Council, a methodology can be worked out that establishes means for disseminating information, a delineation of the various actors involved in the discussion on strengthening the Inter-American Commission, an identification of forums for real participation, as well as a calendar of meeting and events that will be held in Washington, as well as within the States during the coming months.

We wish to insist on the need to generate opportunities for effective participation on each of the discussion points and in each of the meetings held on this issue concerning the continuity of the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights.

The signatory organizations respectfully request that we be heard by the States and that our opinions and contributions be taken into account, not only when the recommendations of the Working Group report are discussed, but also when methodological and scheduling issues need to be resolved.

We thank you in advance for your attention and look forward to your response.

 

cc. José Miguel Insulza. Secretary General of the OAS.

cc. José de Jesús Orozco, President, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

 

Signatory Organizations

Regional

Amazon Watch

Amnistía Internacional

Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA)

Campaña por una Convención Interamericana por los Derechos Sexuales y los Derechos Reproductivos

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

Coalición LGBTTTI Trabajando en la OEA

Comité de América Latina y el Caribe por la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (CLADEM)

Confluencia Feminista Mesoamericana Las Petateras

International Pregnancy Advisory Services (Servicios Internacionales de Asesoría sobre el Embarazo) IPAS – Centroamérica

Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)

Red latinoamericana y caribeña por la defensa de los derechos de los niños, niñas y adolescentes (Redlamyc)

Servicio Paz y Justicia en América Latina (SERPAJ – AL)

 

Bolivia

Oficina Jurídica Para la Mujer

 

Brasil

Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais - Rio de Janeiro

ISER- Instituto de Estudos da Religião

Chile

Corporación Humanas

 

Colombia

Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR)

Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (CCJ)

Corporación para la Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos REINICIAR

Grupo Interdisciplinario por los Derechos Humanos (GIDH)

Peace Brigades International - Colombia Project

 

Costa Rica

Alianza por tus Derechos

 

Ecuador

Acción Ecológica

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S. J.” (CSMM)

Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU)

Fundación Pachamama

 

El Salvador

Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niños y Niñas Desaparecidos (PROBUSQUEDA)

Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Fallecidos y Desaparecidos de El Salvador (COFAMIDE)

Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho (FESPAD)

Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” (IDHUCA)

Instituto de Estudios de la Mujer "Norma Virginia Guirola de Herrera" (CEMUJER)

Organización de Mujeres Salvadoreñas (ORMUSA)

 

Estados Unidos

Human Rights Clinic, University of Texas

US Office on Colombia

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Guatemala

Fundación Myrna Mack, Guatemala

Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG)

Movimiento Social por los Derechos de la Niñez, Adolescencia y Juventud en Guatemala (90 organizaciones)

Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos

 

Honduras

Asociación Cooperación Técnica Nacional (CTN)

Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD)

Asociación LGTB Arco Iris

Asociación para una vida mejor de personas infectadas/afectadas por el VIH-Sida en Honduras (APUVIMEH)

Casa Alianza

Centro de Investigación para la Prevención de la Violencia

Centro de Investigación y Promoción de Derechos Humanos en Honduras (CIPRODEH)

Centro para la prevención, tratamiento y rehabilitación de las víctimas de tortura y sus familiares (CPTRT)

Coalición Nacional de Mujeres de Honduras (CONAMUH)

Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas (CODEMUH)

Comité de Derechos Humanos de Honduras (CODEH)

Comité por la Libre Expresión  (C-LIBRE), Honduras

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos de la Zona Nor Occidental

Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación de la Compañía de Jesús (ERIC)

Foro de Mujeres por la Vida

Foro Nacional para las Migraciones de Honduras (FONAMIH)

Gran Alianza por OMOA

Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla

Organización Fraternal Negra de Honduras (OFRANEH)

Tribuna de Mujeres contra los Femicidios

 

México

Abogadas y Abogados para la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos, A. C.

Acción Urgente para Defensores de los Derechos Humanos, A.C. (ACCUDEH)

Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña “Tlachinollan”, A.C. (Tlachinollan)

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A. C.  (CEDHEM)

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas A.C.

Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, A.C. (Prodh)

Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, A.C. (CEMDA)

Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, A.C. (CADHAC)

Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, A.C. (COSYDDHAC)

Comité de Defensa Integral de Derechos Humanos Gobixha (Código DH)

Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho

Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristóbal de las Casas, A.C.

i(dh)eas, Litigio Estratégico en Derechos Humanos, A.C. (IDHEAS)

Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos "Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos" integrada por 71 organizaciones en 21 estados de la República mexicana.

Servicios Legales e Investigación y Estudios Jurídicos (SLIEJ)

 

Nicaragua

Casa Alianza

Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indígenas (CALPI)

Centro de Información y Servicios de Asesoría en Salud (SISAS)

Centro de Investigaciones de la Comunicación (CINCO)

Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)

Comisión Permanente de Derechos Humanos (CPDH)

FIBRAS/Movimiento por Nicaragua

Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres

Movimiento contra el abuso sexual

Movimiento Feminista de Nicaragua

Oficina de asistencia técnica para el desarrollo y la equidad (CIFEM), Nicaragua

Red de Mujeres contra la Violencia

Panamá

Alianza Ciudadana Pro Justicia, Panamá

Centro de Asistencia Legal Popular (CEALP)

Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (CIAM)

Centro de Iniciativas Democráticas (CIDEM)

Instituto de Derecho Agrario, Ambiental e Indígena

 

Paraguay

BASE Investigaciones Sociales,

Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ)

Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay (CODEHUPY)

 

Perú

Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (Aprodeh)

CEDAL-Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo

Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos

 

Uruguay

Instituto de Estudios Legales y Sociales del Uruguay (IELSUR)

 

Venezuela

Acción Solidaria en VIH/Sida

Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello

Civilis Derechos Humanos

Comité de Familiares de las Víctimas de los sucesos ocurridos entre el 27 de febrero y los primeros días de marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC)

Espacio Público

Programa Venezolano de Educación – Acción en Derechos Humanos (Provea)

Sinergia, Asociación Venezolana de Organizaciones de Sociedad Civil

Vicaría de Derechos Humanos de Caracas

 


[1] AG/RES. 2761 (XLII-O/12), Follow-up on the Recommendations Contained in the “Report of the Special Working Group to Reflect on the Workings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights with a View to strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System,” adopted at the fourth plenary session of the General Assembly in Bolivia, held on June 5, 2012.  Paragraph two establishes, “To instruct the Permanent Council, on the basis of the report, to draw up proposals for its application in dialogue with all the parties involved.”

[2] Email dated July 5, 2012 disseminated through the list osc_registradas@lists.oas.org by the Directorship of the Department of International Affairs, of the OAS Secretariat for External Relations, titled, “OEA - Consulta - Recomendaciones sobre el Funcionamiento de la CIDH y el Fortalecimiento del SIDH | OAS - Consultation - Recommendations on the Functioning of the IACHR and the Strengthening of the IASHR”.

[3] “We commit to continue encouraging the participation of our peoples, through the engagement of our citizens, communities and civil society in the design and execution of development policies and programs, by providing technical and financial assistance, as appropriate, and in accordance with national legislation to strengthen and build their capacity to participate more fully in the inter-American system.” Puerto España Declaration, 2009, ¶ 94, available at http://www.summit-americas.org/sisca/cs_sp.html.

[4] OAS. Increasing and Strengthening the Participation of civil society and Social Actors in the Activities of the Organization of American States. AG/RES. 2736 (XLII-O/12), adopted at the second plenary session, held on June 4, 2012.

[5] In that respect, according the calendar of IACHR sessions, that same day, hearings were held in relation to Canada, Haiti, Chile, Brasil, Panama, and El Salvador, as well as regional hearings on the situation of human rights of LGBTI persons in the Americas; citizen security and human rights in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; the situation of human rights of afro-descendant women in Latin America; situation of the right to freedom of association in the Americas; and the situation of human rights defenders in Mesoamerica.  For more information on the 143rd period of IACHR sessions, see: http://www.cidh.oas.org/pdf%20files/Calendario143.pdf

Judges dismissed after Honduran coup d’état publicly request Inter-American Commission to issue final case report

The State still does not recognize breakdown in constitutional order

Washington, D. C., March 26, 2012- The four judges who were dismissed for expressing themselves and acting against the 2009 coup d’état,  requested today that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)  issue its final case report. The request was made by the Association of Judges for Democracy in Honduras (AJD) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) during a public hearing at the Commission’s 144º Sessions.

 

The judges Adan Guillermo Lopez Lone, Luis Chevez de la Rocha, Ramon Barrios and magistrate Tirza Flores Lanza denounced that the State has still not recognized or repaired the human rights violations that they suffered as a consequence of their arbitrary dismissal.

 

Mon, 03/26/2012

 

Washington, D. C., March 26, 2012- The four judges who were dismissed for expressing themselves and acting against the 2009 coup d’état,  requested today that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)  issue its final case report. The request was made by the Association of Judges for Democracy in Honduras (AJD) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) during a public hearing at the Commission’s 144º Sessions.

 

The judges Adan Guillermo Lopez Lone, Luis Chevez de la Rocha, Ramon Barrios and magistrate Tirza Flores Lanza denounced that the State has still not recognized or repaired the human rights violations that they suffered as a consequence of their arbitrary dismissal.

 

On May 5, 2010, the judges were dismissed by the Supreme Court of Justice for expressing themselves against the coup’ d’ état and, in the case of Judge Flores, for filing an extraordinary  petition against the expatriation of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

 

The AJD and CEJIL reaffirmed their complaint for the violation of the right to judicial guarantees, freedom of expression, freedom of association, political rights and the right to judicial protection. In the case of Judge Chevez de la Rocha, the State is responsible for the violation of his right to personal freedom.  The State is also responsible for the violation of Judge Lopez Lone’s right to freedom of association.

 

During its intervention, the State provided no new information on the case and continued to deny that there had been a coup. Furthermore, it continued to maintain that the dismissal of the judges was due to their involvement in “political party” related activities.

 

In response to the State, Judge Lopez Lone denied that their actions were politically motivated. He emphasized that their actions were in support of democracy and the restoration of the constitutional order.

 

The Guillermo Lopez Lone at al Vs. Honduras case (“Dismissed judges”) is the first case about human rights violations related to the Honduran Coup d’état to be admitted by the Inter-American Commission. Given the multiple violations committed during and after the constitutional breakdown, the petitioner organizations stated that the recommendations to be issued by the IACHR can contribute to promoting structural reform to secure judicial independence in Honduras, as well as to furthering justice in other cases.

 

 

 

 

Contacto en Washington

Milli Legrain

+1-202- 319 3000, ext. 15 (fijo)

mlegrain@cejil.org

 

Contacto en Costa Rica:

Darío Chinchilla

+506 - 2281-3280

dchinchilla@cejil.org

 

 

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