Amnesty International Issues Human Rights Plan for Honduras

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Amnesty International Issues Human Rights Plan for Honduras

LONDON - Amnesty International today issued a
series of recommendations to newly elected Honduran President Porfirio
Lobo to repair the damage done to human rights since the June 2009 coup
d’état, which left hundreds seeking justice.

The 13 recommendations include issues relating to investigations
into the human rights abuses committed by security forces, rejecting
amnesty laws for those responsible for the crimes, training judges on
international human rights legislation and setting up an effective
witness protection programme.

“Honduras’ devastating coup d’état has left the country in urgent
need of a programme of human rights reconstruction with clear
objectives and a timeline for completion,” said Kerrie Howard, Americas
Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

“If President Lobo wants to restore the rule of law and confidence
in his government, he must ensure the abuses of the past seven months
are dealt with quickly and effectively.”

Amnesty International’s report also summarizes 20 cases which
include police killings, arbitrary detentions, beatings and
ill-treatment in detention, sexual abuse of women and girls, harassment
of journalists, judges and activists.

No-one has been held to account for these abuses and few investigations have been opened.

On 1 August, 38-year-old teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in
hospital as a result of injuries sustained from a bullet wound to the
head, caused by a rubber bullet reportedly fired by police during the
break up of a protest in Tegucigalpa in July. An investigation into the
killing is open but no advances have been reported.

On 23 September, 16-year-old Gerson Ariel Cruz was seriously wounded
by police following the break up of a protest in Tegucigalpa. According
to an eyewitness, the police chased protesters into a residential
neighbourhood where they opened fire with live ammunition. Gerson, who
had taken no part in the protest, was shot in the stomach. When family
members tried to take him to hospital they were turned back from a
police roadblock, substantially delaying their journey to seek
emergency treatment. Gerson survived but sustained serious injuries
from which he has still not fully recovered. The shooting was reported
to the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights and an investigation is
on-going.

“There are dozens of cases of killings, beatings, sexual harassment
and other abuses by the security forces against members of the
opposition movement and those seen as critical of the coup d’état which
need to be urgently investigated,” said Kerrie Howard. “Hondurans will
expect President Lobo to provide answers and a resolution to the
hundreds of human rights abuses committed by the security forces since
28 June 2009."

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo took office on 27 January. He was
elected in November last year amidst a political crisis that saw
President Manuel Zelaya ousted by military-backed right wing
politicians in June.

A copy of the report “Recommendations to the new Honduran government following the June 2009 coup d’état” is available at www.amnesty.org

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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