PBI-Honduras accompanied Dina Meza and C-Libre comment on the murder of independent journalist Luis Almendares

Published by Brent Patterson on

On September 28, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted on its Facebook page about the death of 35-year-old independent journalist Luis Almendares who had been shot multiple times the day before.

PBI-Honduras laments: “Today we woke up to the news of the murder of journalist Luis Almendares.”

Their post includes an article about the murder of Almendares by journalist Dina Meza, who PBI-Honduras has accompanied since May 2014.

Meza writes: “Three days earlier, he had released a video from which several people had been shot at from a vehicle allegedly belonging to the police.”

The Agence France-Presse article on Almendares’ murder also quotes C-Libre (Comite por la Libre Expresión/Committee for Free Expression), which has been accompanied by PBI-Honduras since January 2018.

AFP reports: “Almendares, a freelancer who used social media to criticize the government of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, had repeatedly complained to police and the country’s National Protection System over receiving death threats, the rights group said.”

Deutsche-Welle adds: “Almendares … had filed at least 10 complaints of death threats with the police and a government mechanism for the protection of communicators, according to human rights defenders.”

Amanda Ponce of C-Libre says that more than 90 percent of the 85 murders of journalists carried out in Honduras since 2001 have gone unpunished.

And Dagoberto Rodríguez, president of the Honduran College of Journalists (CPH), commented following the death of Almendares: “If impunity continues to prevail in the murders of journalists and communicators, a circle of impunity is generated and the government shows it is not interested in solving the murders.”

The CPH has now decided to stop participating in the government protection program that currently provides protection to 44 journalists.

Rodriguez says: “We have decided to withdraw, until there is some real action on solving the deaths of journalists and the system is reformed. We do not want the cases in the program to be so bureaucratic, and we want a real budget to protect threatened journalists, because the funding now only serves to pay for (program) employees.”

While 31 human rights defenders were killed in Honduras in 2019, including 14 land and environmental defenders, making Honduras the most dangerous country in the world per capita for land and environmental defenders, the Government of Canada makes no mention of this in its travel advisory for Canadians visiting Honduras.

Since the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras, PBI has seen with increasing concern the worsening of the situation of human rights defenders. Following a request in May 2010 for accompaniment, the PBI Honduras project was established in 2013.

Categories: News Updates


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