IACHR EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER THE SUSPENSION OF GUARANTEES IN HONDURAS AND AMPLIFIES PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES
Washington, D.C., July 3, 2009 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is deeply concerned over the executive decree 011-2009 adopted by the de facto authorities in Honduras, through which fundamental rights have been restricted, such as personal liberty, allowing incommunicado detention for more than 24 hours, freedom of association and the right of assembly, as well as freedom of movement to leave, enter and remain in the territory of Honduras.
The IACHR wishes to reiterate that the suspension of guarantees only proceeds in exceptional situations explicitly defined by the American Convention on Human Rights, and in no case may the suspension of personal liberty mean a limitation to the writ of habeas corpus or other adequate and effective remedies for the judicial review of the detentions, nor to the judicial guarantees essential for the protection of life and personal integrity.
In addition, the IACHR decided on July 2, 2009, a new amplification of precautionary measures PM 196-09 in order to safeguard the life and personal integrity of persons in Honduras who, according to the information received, are at risk.
The IACHR requested that necessary measures be adopted to assure the life and personal integrity of all of the beneficiaries. In respect to those who have been arbitrarily detained and/or whose whereabouts remain unknown, the Commission requested to be informed of their whereabouts immediately. In the case of those arbitrarily detained, the Commission requested that these individuals be freed immediately. Precautionary Measures 196-09 were originally granted in favor of Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas on June 28, 2009, and amplified on June 29, 2009, in favor of the other individuals, as informed through Press Release No. 45/09. The IACHR set a deadline of 48 hours to receive information about the implementation of these required measures.
Through the same letter, the Inter-American Commission indicated that, in addition to the requirements set forth in the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, all other necessary measures should be adopted to assure the life and personal integrity of human rights defenders, journalists, family members of President Zelaya and the international observers present in Honduras. As it has in its previous statements, the IACHR directs this message to the President of the Congress and the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, authorities who remain in their posts following the coup d’état, due to the impossibility at this time of delivering this message to the constitutional President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and the Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas.
Through the amplification decided today by the IACHR, the following persons are now included in precautionary measures 196-09:
1. Adriana Sivori, TeleSUR journalist; According to information received by the Commission, military forces arbitrarily detained her, confiscated her equipment and documents and took her to an unknown location;
2. Alan McDonald, cartoonist; According to information received by the Commission, he and his 17-month-old daughter were detained after soldiers allegedly ransacked his house and destroyed his cartoons;
3. Alejandro Villatoro, Radio Globo journalist;
4. Andrés Pavón Uribe, member of the Honduran Human Rights Committee;
5. Ángel Alvarado; member of the National Resistance Committee;
6. Arcadia López, Staff Minister in the Presidential House;
7. Bertha Oliva de Nativí, member of the Committee for Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras;
8. Carlos Eduardo Reina, member of the National Resistance Committee;
9. Carlos Humberto Reyes, member of the bloque popular;
10. Carlos Melano, assistant to President Zelaya;
11. Clyborn St. John, TeleSUR journalist;
12. Danny Reyes, director of the LGTB Rainbow Association of Honduras; According to information received by the Commission, he was taken to a political station on June 29, 2009;
13. David Ellner Romero, Canal 36/Radio Globo journalist; According to information received by the Commission, he was forcibly disappeared on June 28, 2009 by masked military forces;
14. Doris García, leader of the National Women’s Institute;
15. Eduardo Maldonado, Canal 36 journalist; According to information received by the Commission, he was forcibly disappeared on June 28, 2009 by masked military forces;
16. Edward Yeferí Lobo Sánchez, defender of the rights of children and youth;
17. Enrique Flores Lanza, Presidential Secretary;
18. Enrique Reina, assistant to President Zelaya;
19. Eulogio Chávez, member of the National Resistance Committee;
20. Franklin Meija, Radio Globo journalist.
21. Freddy Quintero, TeleSUR journalist; According to information received by the Commission, military forces arbitrarily detained him, confiscated his equipment and documents and took him to an unknown location;
22. Guillermo de Jesús Mayen Jiménez, defender of the rights of children and youth, and member of the political party Union Democratica; According to information received by the Commission, he was pursued and hounded by security forces because of his association with Union Democratica;
23. Hector Licona, employee of the LGTB Rainbow Association of Honduras; According to information received by the Commission, he was taken to a political station on June 29, 2009;
24. Israel Moreno, director of Radio Progreso;
25. Israel Salinas, member of the Majority Union;
26. Juan Barahona, member of the bloque popular;
27. Larry Sánchez, TeleSUR journalist; According to information received by the Commission, military forces arbitrarily detained him, confiscated his equipment and documents and took him to an unknown location;
28. Lidieth Díaz, Radio Globo journalist;
29. Luter Castillo Harris, Chief of International Cooperation in the Chancellery of the Republic;
30. Madeleine García, TeleSUR journalist;
31. Marco Tulio Burgos Córdova, commissioner for the National Permanent Committee of Contingencies;
32. María José Díaz, TeleSUR journalist; According to information received by the Commission, military forces arbitrarily detained her, confiscated her equipment and documents and took her to an unknown location;
33. Marvin Ponce, National Congressional Deputy for the party Unificacion Democratica;
34. Matilde Durón Ochoa, defender of the rights of children and youth;
35. Mayra Mejía, Labor Secretary
36. Milton Jiménez Puerto; President of the Banks and Securities Committee;
37. Miriam Mejh, Youth Institute;
38. Orlando Villatoro, Radio Globo journalist;
39. Patrick Pavón; employee of the LGTB Rainbow Association of Honduras; According to information received by the Commission he was attacked by members of the National Police and armed forces;
40. Rafael Alegría, national director of the Via Campesina;
41. Regina Osorio, TeleSUR journalist;
42. Roger Ulises Peña, unionist; According to information received by the Commission he was thrown to the ground at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, June 29, 2009 by a military command, and his health is now critical;
43. Rony Martínez; Radio Globo journalist;
44. Salvador Zúñiga; member of the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras;
45. Sara Elisa Rosales, member of the Las Lolas and Feminist Movement;
46. Tomás Andino Mencía; defender of the rights of children and youth
Additionally, the Commission requested information about the following situations:
State of emergency
1. whether exceptional measures to restrict or suspend individual rights have been taken, and, in that case, what measures have been adopted to ensure respect for irrevocable fundamental rights and judicial guarantees;
2. decree 011-2009, by which fundamental rights were restricted;
3. whether any deaths have taken place in connection with the coup d’état, and, in this case, specific information on those deaths;
4. the forced recruitment of children and adolescents to the Military;
5. the total number of the detentions that took place beginning on June 28, 2009, in connection with the coup d’état or in later operations to control the public order; complete identification of the detained persons and reasons for their detention; whether any persons are being detained in military or police establishments; whether there any of the detained persons are incommunicado and the time lapsed under this condition; and whether there are judicial resources available and functioning to review the causes and conditions of these detentions.
6. the takeover of HONDUTEL by military forces; and
7. the alleged deliberate shut down of electricity and telephone services.
Freedom of expression
1. the shutting down of Channel 36, Channel 8 and State media;
2. the alleged prohibition on reproducing or broadcasting declarations of officials of the Government of President Zelaya by newspaper el Tiempo and Channel 11;
3. the alleged takeover and closing of Radio Progreso by military forces;
4. the alleged order, under threat of force, that two TeleSUR teams dismantle their equipment and interrupt their transmissions;
5. the alleged prohibition on cable TV broadcast channels (TeleSUR, CNN, CubaVisión Internacional); and
6. the takeover of Radio Globo by military forces and the alleged attacks, threats and intimidation against its staff.
The Inter-American Commission strongly condemned the coup d’état and the interruption of the constitutional order that occurred in Honduras on June 28, 2009, in a statement released that same day. The IACHR reiterates its urgent call that the democratic order in Honduras be restored in order to respect and guarantee human rights, the Rule of Law and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. On the same day, the Organization of American States (OAS) by a resolution of its Permanent Council, condemned the coup d’état and the arbitrary detention and expulsion of President Zelaya from the country. It requires the immediate, safe and unconditional return of President Zelaya to his constitutional duties and announced that it will not recognize any government that arises from this unconstitutional interruption. On July 1, 2009, the OAS Special General Assembly approved a resolution that set a 72-hour deadline for the restoration of democracy in Honduras, after which Honduras will be automatically suspended from the OAS, in accordance with Article 21 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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