MIL-OSI Translation: Honduras: Persistent violence, land conflicts, corruption and impunity challenge human rights

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THOUSAND OSI Translation. Region: Spanish/Latin America/UN –

Source: United Nations – in Spanish 4

Headline: Honduras: Persistent violence, land conflicts, corruption and impunity challenge human rights

Persistent violence, including gender violence, land conflicts and impunity, are some of the most serious human rights challenges in Honduras, the High Commissioner for Human Rights said this Friday when presenting its latest report on the country.

“While I see a reduction in homicides, violence and insecurity remain deeply rooted and common, particularly affecting women and LGBTQ people,” said Volker Türk.

Last year, 380 violent deaths of women were recorded, as well as 47 murders of LGBTQ people. Meanwhile, specialized protocols continue to be lacking so that criminal justice institutions can address the high rates of violence against women, according to the report.

For the State to ensure a safe environment free of organized crime, it needs the necessary resources and policies to address the enormous inequalities in the country, illicit financial flows, taxes and corruption, recommends Türk.

“It is also important to develop a coherent national security policy based on human rights that incorporates prevention measures,” he says.

The High Commissioner says he is concerned about the increase in the militarization of public security and the penitentiary system.

“To give an example, after the tragic attack that occurred in June at the Támara women’s prison, in which 46 women deprived of liberty died, the Government returned the administration of the penitentiary system to the military police. Since then we have received information that some of the actions of the military police may amount to ill-treatment,” Türk said.

In addition, he was especially concerned about the current state of emergency, which has been in force for more than 15 months, and which grants the national police and military police powers to carry out arrests and searches without court orders.

Discrimination against indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples

Conflicts linked to land, territory and natural resources persist throughout Honduras, with indigenous peoples, Afro-Honduran peoples and peasants being the most affected by violence, land appropriation and evictions.

“I am very concerned about the fact that Honduras remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for people who defend the land, territory and environment,” Türk said.

Attacks against human rights defenders and journalists increased last year, with some 561 people victims of attacks. At least 15 human rights defenders and two journalists were murdered.

“My Office strongly encourages the authorities to strengthen the National Protection Mechanism and implement all necessary institutional measures to protect human rights defenders.” he added.

On the other hand, Türk welcomed the repeal and reform of Decrees of the so-called “Impunity Pact” by the National Congress, as well as the Government’s willingness to address corruption.

Corruption drains the country

However, high levels of corruption and impunity continue to deplete the resources available to the country, as well as erode trust in public institutions.

“I urge Honduras to adopt measures to ensure transparency and accountability, including those to strengthen the judiciary, the Public Ministry and other key national institutions against corruption, and guarantee their independence,” he added.

He also welcomed the new election process for the new Supreme Court of Justice, and the emphasis on transparency, accountability and gender parity: “This represents a concrete opportunity for Honduras to strengthen the rule of law and access to Justice”.

At the same time, he said his Office continues to urge progress in investigations into serious violations committed in the 1980s, the 2009 coup and the 2017 post-election crisis.

“I also welcome the recently passed historic bill that protects natural resources and protected areas for the rights of affected communities. “This law, along with the executive decree to guarantee the ancestral and property rights of the Garifuna people, are crucial to advance the enjoyment of the rights of the most vulnerable,” he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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