PBI-Honduras comments on the crises and structural causes that continue to put human rights defenders at risk

Published by Brent Patterson on

As of Tuesday morning, Hondurans continue to wait for the final results of Sunday’s election.

On November 29, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “It is important to maintain national and international attention until the end of the electoral count, taking into account historical antecedents. Honduras arrives at these elections with increased poverty, food insecurity and distrust in institutions.”

PBI-Honduras then shares this article that highlights:

As we await the final results of the elections in Honduras, one thing is clear: this moment is not only an electoral process, but also a convergence of the multiple crises that the country has faced since the coup d’état of 2009, and especially in the last four years since the post-electoral conflict of 2017.

According to the National Observatory of Violence, maintained by the National Autonomous University of Honduras, [political violence has resulted in] 68 deaths.

Political violence has a direct impact on human rights defenders.

From what was reported by the eight social organizations that have participated in preparatory workshops facilitated by PBI Honduras, in the week before the elections, all had seen an increase in the levels of violence against human rights defenders at key moments of the campaign.

Vulnerable communities, especially the LGTBI+ community, have seen a serious increase in their situation of risk, in the midst of a political campaign that questioned their fundamental rights.

Several sexual diversity organizations denounced a “hate speech” made by the outgoing president, Juan Orlando Hernández, on the occasion of the bicentennial of Honduran independence, in which he called “enemies of the homeland” to people who defend the rights of this community.

Just 10 days after the speech, Erika Tatiana, a trans woman from the department of Copán, in the mountainous west of the country, was stabbed to death in her apartment. CONADEH called for an investigation that “leads to the capture and prosecution of the material and intellectual authors of these hate crimes.”

Just three days before voting day, a women’s march in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was heavily repressed by state forces, despite having been described as “peaceful” by the National Commissioner for Human Rights.

This distrust increased even more in October, when the National Congress approved a series of reforms to the penal code during a week of national holidays.

The penalties for the crime of usurpation, frequently cited in cases of criminalization of defenders of land and territory, were aggravated, in addition to extending its application to seizures of public spaces and enabling eviction orders even without judicial control, thus limiting the rights to peaceful protest, to freedom of association, and freedom of expression, among others.

On November 28, almost 70% of the Honduran population decided to vote. Several incidents were recorded during the day: from ASOPODEHU, for example, they reported at least 7 attacks against journalists, of which 3 were committed by the National Electoral Center (CNE), 2 by military police, 1 by activists of the National Party and another by activists of the Liberal Party.

Regardless of the results of the final count, these crises and their structural causes will require a comprehensive and lasting response that supports and does not hinder the work of human rights defenders who are constantly fighting for a better future.

The full article by the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project can be read in Spanish at Unas elecciones en medio de una crisis multiple.

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