N° 20/08




Washington, May 8, 2008 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deeply regrets the violent deaths of 27 inmates in two prisons in Honduras, and calls on the State to urgently adopt the necessary measures to prevent similar events from happening again, bearing in mind that this is not the first time such types of killings have taken place inside the country’s prisons.


According to the information received by the IACHR, on Saturday, April 26, 2008, nine individuals were killed and two injured in a violent confrontation among inmates of a prison in San Pedro Sula, a city in northern Honduras. The following Saturday, May 3, eighteen inmates died violently in a brawl at the National Penitentiary, located some 15 miles outside Tegucigalpa. Those killed belonged to a group of prisoners that authorities had transferred from the San Pedro Sula facility after the violence of April 26. Officials explained that the transfer of dozens of inmates was planned as a security measure, in order to avoid new uprisings in the San Pedro Sula prison.


The IACHR deeply regrets these events, expresses solidarity with the families of the inmates who were killed, and underscores that international law requires that the State of Honduras guarantee, first and foremost, the life and integrity of all prisoners. In this regard, the Commission views positively the statements made by President Manuel Zelaya, who announced on Sunday, May 4, that his government will adopt measures to prevent a repetition of such violent confrontations. The IACHR also recalls that the State has the obligation to conduct an exhaustive investigation of these acts and to prosecute and punish those responsible.


Moreover, the Commission underscores that State human rights obligations include the obligation to adopt all necessary measures to adequately address the current prison situation. In this regard, the IACHR calls on Honduran authorities to urgently take appropriate actions and measures to solve the structural problems affecting the country’s prisons. The Commission will closely follow the State’s initiatives in this area.      

Read this press release in Spanish / Lea este comunicado en español

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