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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2009
1:04 PM

CONTACT: NGOs & Scholars

Dan Beeton (CEPR), 202-239-1460

Obama Administration Must Support Human Rights In Honduras

NGO's and Scholars Say Latest Statement from Hillary Clinton Gives Blank Check To Honduran Military

WASHINGTON - July 25 - A group of organizations, scholars, and academics who specialize in Latin America released the following statement late Friday:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's latest statement, which appears to hold President Zelaya responsible for any potential further violence by the Honduran government against civilians, is unacceptable. It is very disheartening to see the United States government go against the international consensus that has called for the immediate and unconditional return of President Zelaya.

Even worse, such statements could be seen as a blank check to the Honduran military and others to use violence against peaceful protestors who support their elected president.

Clinton's statement called Zelaya's attempt to return peacefully to his country "reckless," and said that "We have consistently urged all parties to avoid any provocative action that could lead to violence," implying that Zelaya is responsible for the violence against his unarmed supporters.

Given that neither Clinton nor President Obama, nor any U.S. official, has even once criticized the Honduran dictatorship for the violence and political repression of the last four weeks, Clinton's pointing the finger at Zelaya is especially threatening to the human rights of Hondurans.

By contrast, the shootings, beatings, arrests and detentions of journalists, closing of radio and TV stations, and other repression have been documented and condemned by the Inter American Commission for Human Rights, by human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and a report from the Honduran Committee for the Relatives of the Disappeared Detainees.

On July 23rd, an international commission of human rights organizations - including the International Federation of Human Rights and the Center for Justice and International Law - concluded that "grave and systematic violations of human rights" have taken place in Honduras since the military coup.

Yet the Obama administration has been silent in the face of these abuses.

By echoing the statements of the coup leaders, Clinton has also put the United States further outside the international community. By returning to Honduras, Zelaya is attempting to implement the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Organization of American States, which called for his immediate and unconditional return to the Presidency. He participated in the mediation process headed by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and agreed to the proposal put forth by Arias, but the de facto government would not budge.

Signed,

ORGANIZATIONS:

Border Agricultural Workers Project

Coalition for Peace and Democracy, Los Angeles, CA

Committee in Solidarity With the People of El Salvador

Just Foreign Policy

Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Los Angeles, CA

National Family Farm Coalition

Portland Central America Solidarity Committee, Oregon

School of the Americas Watch


INDIVIDUALS:

William Avilés, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Dr. James D. Cockcroft, Ph.D., writer and online professor, SUNY

Jennifer N. Costanza, MA, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Brown University

P. Gabrielle Foreman, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies, Bowdoin College, 2008, Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies, Occidental College, Los Angeles

Dana Frank, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Jane Franklin, Historian, Author

Armando Gonzalez Caban, Latin American Perspectives, University of CA Riverside

Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University

John L. Hammond, Hunter College and Graduate Center, City University of New York

Doug Hertzler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Mennonite University

Derrick Hindery, Assistant Professor of International Studies and Department of Geography, University of Oregon

Eric Holt-Gimenez, executive director, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy

Florencia E. Mallon, Julieta Kirkwood Professor of Latin American History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Peter and Gail Mott, Co-Editors, INTERCONNECT

Jocelyn Olcott, Department of History, Duke University

Adrienne Pine, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American University

Suyapa G. Portillo Villeda, PhD Candidate, Cornell University/CFD Fellow, Pomona College

Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies, Trinity College

Marcus Rediker, Professor and Chair in the Department of History, University of Pittsburgh

Milla Riggio, James J. Goodwin Professor of English, Trinity College, Connecticut

Dr. Christine J. Wade, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Washington College, Maryland

Jeffery R. Webber, Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Regina, Canada

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

John Womack, Jr., Professor of History, emeritus, Harvard University

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