PBI-Honduras observes constitutional challenge against Legislative Decree on virtual lobbying given limits on Internet access
On April 21, PBI-Honduras posted on Facebook: “Yesterday we observed the presentation of an action of unconstitutionality against Legislative Decree 154-2020, which provides for the suspension of the open face-to-face meetings established by the Municipalities Law, becoming made virtually.”
PBI-Honduras comments: “This harms due process because only the population that has the economic conditions of access to equipment and the internet will be able to exercise their right to political participation.”
Criterio.hn further reports: “Honduran social organizations presented an action of unconstitutionality against Legislative Decree 154-2020, which suspends open face-to-face lobbying and enables the realization of these in a virtual way, restricting and discriminating political participation in a country where only 31.7% of the population has access to the internet.”
“The action was presented by the Coalition Against Impunity (ICC) composed of 53 civil society organizations together with Cristosal, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the Law Firm for Peoples and the Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Goods.”
That article also notes: “The organizations involved argue that this action against face-to-face participation in open lobbying is extremely serious, because these spaces are the only mechanism of participation to implement the rights of access to information and direct political participation in the face of the operations of megaprojects and extractivist projects that are installed in rural municipalities of the country.”
In August 2020, Criterio.hn also reported: “While indigenous and Afro-descendant groups remain in confinement, extractive projects continue to operate with carte blanche from the State, as stated in the report ‘Abandonment has a face and consequences’ presented by the Social Forum of External Debt and Development of Honduras (Fosdeh) and Oxfam.”
PBI-Canada shares the concerns expressed by PBI-Honduras.