IACHR URGEs honduras’ de facto government to respect protests
Washington, DC, September 22, 2009 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the de facto government of Honduras, and in particular the State security forces, to respect public demonstrations and the right to freedom of expression of all persons.
The IACHR received information indicating that President Manuel Zelaya Rosales has returned to Honduras and that he is in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Moreover, journalistic reports indicate that some social sectors of Honduras are organizing demonstrations in support of the President.
During its visit to Honduras August 17-21, 2009, the Commission learned that in demonstrations that were suppressed throughout the country—including Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Choloma, Comayagua, and the town of El Paraíso—there was a pattern of excessive use of public force. In fact, several of the demonstrations held since June 28, 2009, were broken up by public security forces, both police and military, resulting in deaths, cases of torture and mistreatment, hundreds of injured, and thousands of arbitrary detentions.
The IACHR finds it necessary to reiterate that political and social participation through public demonstrations is essential to democratic life in societies and is of vital social interest. People from all political sectors have the right to fully and freely exercise their right to freedom of expression and their right to assembly, without violence and in accordance with the law and inter-American standards for the protection of human rights. As the Inter-American Commission and Court have indicated, the States not only should refrain from interfering with the exercise of these rights, but it should also adopt measures to ensure that these rights can be exercised effectively.
The Commission considers it imperative that the de facto government adopt urgent measures to guarantee the right to life, humane treatment, and personal liberty. All persons without distinction must be equally protected in the exercise of the rights of freedom of expression, assembly and political participation.
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 Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. 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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