For Immediate Release
Manuel Perez Rocha, 240-838-6623 (Thursday)
Tom Loudon, 301-204-9549 (Friday)
Honduran Human Rights Defenders “Profoundly Honored” to Receive Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award in Ceremony Last Night
WASHINGTON - The Honduran Platform on Human Rights was awarded the Institute for Policy Studies' Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award last night at the National Press Club. The platform received the International Award, while the National Day Laborer Organizing Network received the Domestic Award, and the Guatemalan National Police Archives received Special Recognition. The award honors the memory of two Institute for Policy Studies staffers - the former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt - who were murdered in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 1976 as they drove to work in what, at the time, was considered one of the worst acts of foreign terrorism on U.S. soil
"We, my organization - COFADEH - and the Human Rights Platform of which we are members, receive the Letelier-Moffitt award with sincere happiness," said Bertha Oliva de Nativi, the director of the Committee of Family Members of Detained and Disappeared people in Honduras (COFADEH), who is in D.C. to accept the award on behalf of the Platform, along with Juan Almendares Bonilla, the director of the Center of Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture (C.T.P.R.T).
"We've come from a country with institutions broken by impunity, corruption and violence; threatening the lives and freedom of all," Oliva said.
"We are profoundly honored to receive this prestigious recognition in the name of two exemplary human beings, Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffit and we extend our warmest thanks to the organizers of this event and reaffirm our permanent struggle, as the Human Rights Platform of Honduras, in defense of human rights," Almendares said.
The award ceremony took place as Congressman Sam Farr is circulating a Dear Colleague letter signed by 20 members of Congress that calls on the Obama administration to advance justice by curtailing assistance to the Lobo administration until it protects the rights of all Hondurans, not just political supporters. The letter closes COB this Friday. The Obama administration's embrace of the Honduran government of Porfirio Lobo has been at odds with Latin American countries, led by Brazil, that see the Lobo regime as illegitimate, and are concerned by ongoing murders and repression of anti-coup activists in Honduras.
The Honduras Human Rights Platform (Plataforma de Derechos Humanos de Honduras) is composed of six prominent human rights organizations in the country. It has strived since the June 28, 2009 military coup to provide the Honduran people with accurate information about their government. It continues to vigorously call on the newly imposed government to investigate the increasing number of murdered journalists and activists, while many community, civil and rights groups in the country continue to receive threats. The Platform received international attention this year for its creation of an independent Truth Commission to investigate human rights violations in connection with last year's coup, separate from the official truth commission set up by the Honduran government which does not include any Honduran members not associated with Lobo's party, and which has no mandate to investigate human rights abuses. Information provided by the Platform is used by international organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in researching Honduras' human rights situation.
Oliva and Almendares will be in D.C. through Friday and available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Manuel Perez Rocha, 240-838-6623 (Thursday) or Tom Loudon, 301-204-9549 (Friday)