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For Immediate Release
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Honduras: Decree Suspends Basic Rights

OAS Should Press de Facto Leaders to Restore Rights and End Abuse of Demonstrators


The Organization of American States (OAS),
should press Honduras' de facto government to ensure full respect for
human rights guarantees, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released
today to OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza.

The letter
expresses concern over reports of serious abuses against demonstrators,
and the Honduran Congress's approval of an emergency decree suspending
fundamental rights in the aftermath of a military coup that deposed
President Manuel Zelaya early on June 28, 2009.

"[A]ny attempt to suspend non-derogable rights should be
categorically condemned," Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at
Human Rights Watch, said in the letter. "The authorities should be
clearly reminded that acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment,
and enforced disappearances are absolutely prohibited and subject to
prosecution as international crimes."

The letter cites credible reports of serious abuses committed in
recent days, including arbitrary detentions of close to 100
demonstrators and censorship of news outlets. Human Rights Watch
expressed concern that the new decree could give rise to further abuse.

"In the absence of some clear threat to public order and security in
Honduras, the existence of peaceful, political demonstrations could not
reasonably be construed as ground for widespread suspension of
fundamental rights guarantees," Vivanco said in the letter.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.