PBI and ISHR respond to UN Special Rapporteur report on judges and lawyers in Honduras

Published by Brent Patterson on

On July 13, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) presented a joint statement at the United Nations developed in collaboration with the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project and Peace Brigades International-Switzerland.

The statement was part of an interactive dialogue with Diego García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The Special Rapporteur visited Honduras on August 16-22, 2019.

García-Sayán notes in his report an earlier visit by Michel Forst: “In the report on his visit to Honduras, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders noted with concern that, between 2010 and 2016, 117 law professionals – judges, prosecutors, lawyers and court staff – died violent deaths.”

In the recommendations section of his report, García-Sayán “urges national authorities to establish without further delay the protection units envisaged for judges and prosecutors at risk and to allocate appropriate human, financial and technical resources to protect judges, prosecutors and lawyers who face threats, harassment, intimidation and interference as a result of their professional activities.”

He also notes: “The modalities of protection should correspond to the nature and seriousness of the risk faced by the beneficiaries of the protection measures and should also extend to members of their families.”

PBI and ISHR welcomed his report and noted: “We observe with great concern the lack of protection of those who practice law and justice operators in the face of the great challenges facing the Honduran institutional framework.”

It concludes: “Justice operators are not immune to threats and attacks; with a cloak of impunity of 90% for murdered lawyers. We urge the government to establish the specialized mechanism for the protection of justice operators mentioned in the Protection Law for Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Operators. More than five years have passed since the law was passed. It is time for Honduras to take action.”

The video of the PBI and ISHR intervention presented by Salma El Hosseiny, Programme manager (Human Rights Council) at ISHR, can be found at the 1:41:00 (item 53) here.

The 17-page by the Special Rapporteur can be read here.

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