Tegucigalpa, Honduras (UPI) Jun 28, 2010
Honduran military and other security forces are under a spotlight after a renewed round of condemnation of human rights abuses allegedly committed during the five months after a June 2009 coup that toppled President Jose Manuel Zelaya and continuing to date.
This time the focus is on the government of President Porfirio Lobo, elected successor to Zelaya in a November 2009 election organized by coup leader Roberto Micheletti. Lobo's conciliatory stance toward the coup regime has meant there has been no real progress on investigating the alleged crimes reported when the military and security forces sought to crush supporters of Zelaya and opponents of the military takeover.
Human rights group Amnesty International Monday cited evidence Lobo's government had failed to act against military and police officers implicated in mass arrests, beatings and torture.
Instead, freedom of expression in the country has taken a dive, with at least seven journalists confirmed killed in the past three months, Amnesty International said.
Lobo has been seeking political and diplomatic rehabilitation for his regime but is still shunned by most of Latin American and international community. Successive U.S and European mediation efforts to help Honduras earn respectability have been thwarted by international resistance to Lobo's inaction.
Last month the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights visited Honduras and reported that impunity for human rights violations continues, both in terms of violations verified by the IACHR and the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and those that continue to occur."
The IACHR report made clear that not only past abuses were going unpunished but new violations were continuing.
Zelaya was forced from power June 28, 2009, in a coup authorized by the Honduran judiciary and backed by the military. Numerous attempts to have him reinstated were resisted by Micheletti's administration, which proceeded to have Lobo elected as president.
Micheletti's group received prompt amnesty when Lobo took office but it took months for a truth and reconciliation commission to get started.
"President Lobo has publicly committed to human rights but has failed to take action to protect them, which is unacceptable," said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International's Americas deputy director.
"He needs to show he is serious about ending the climate of repression and insecurity in Honduras -- otherwise the future stability of the country will remain in jeopardy," Marengo said.
The killings of seven journalists adds to a death toll of at least 10 people who were victims of violence during popular protests against the coup.
Human rights activists, opposition leaders and even judges suffered threats and intimidation, media outlets closed and journalists were censored.
There were also reports of security force personnel committing acts of sexual violence against women and girls, Amnesty International said.
Judges viewed as critical of the coup suffered a series of arbitrary transferals and unfair disciplinary proceedings. Most of the judges targeted belonged to Judges for Democracy, which promotes principles of fairness and transparency.
"It is a sad fact that no redress has been provided to the numerous victims who suffered serious abuses at the hands of the police and military during the de facto government's time in power," said Marengo.
"These grave human rights violations must not be forgotten or go unpunished. Victims have the right to truth, justice and reparation."
The IACHR cited the role played by the Supreme Court of Justice in instigating the coup and in orchestrating repression and condoning measures against critics.
"The generalized impunity for human rights violations is facilitated by decisions of the CSJ that weaken the rule of law," IACHR said.
"In addition to the CSJ's disputed role during the coup d'etat, it subsequently decided, on the one hand, to dismiss charges against the members of the military accused of participating in the coup and, on the other, to fire judges and magistrates who sought to prevent the coup through democratic means."
Both Amnesty International and IACHR want the government to use its influence to halt the wave of suppression of independent voices in Honduras.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
The Long War - Doctrine and Application
New Medical Weapons To Protect Against Anthrax Attacks
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 25, 2010
The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States are fostering development of a new generation of vaccines, antibiotics, and other medications to protect people against the potentially deadly bacteria in any future bioterrorist incident. That's the conclusion of a sweeping overview of scientific research on medical technology to combat the anthrax threat. It appears in ACS' bi-weekly Journal ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|