THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS EXPRESSES CONCERN
OVER VIOLENCE IN HONDURAN PENITENTIARY
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expresses its concern over the violent events that took place in the National Penitentiary of Támara, Honduras, on January 5, 2006.
According to reports in the media, there was a violent clash among inmates, in which 13 people were killed and one seriously wounded. According to the press, the inmates used firearms, machetes, and other sharp instruments.
When the Special Rapporteur of the IACHR on the rights of persons deprived of their liberty, Commissioner Florentín Meléndez, visited several detention centers in Honduras in November 2004, including the Penitenciaría Nacional, he noted with concern the conditions in those centers. At that time, the Rapporteur observed overcrowding, the lack of adequate sanitary conditions, and a shortage of human and budgetary resources, as well as the absence of effective controls to prevent weapons being brought into the detention centers.
Under international law, the State is the guarantor of the rights of persons in its custody. Therefore, the Commission urges the Honduran State to take the necessary steps to safeguard the life and personal safety of the persons deprived of liberty in the prison system, as well as in the other detention centers in Honduras. In particular, the State must exercise control over force and discipline in the detention centers, as well as over the entrance and carrying of arms. Further, it must prevent such acts of violence and loss of human life from recurring in future by conducting the corresponding administrative and judicial inquiries.
Washington, D.C., January 6, 2006