PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ON ITS VISIT TO HONDURAS, MAY 15 TO 18, 2010
IV. THE PROGRESS MADE TOWARD RESTORING DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND THE CHALLENGES THAT LIE AHEAD
122. The Commission applauds the appointment of the Minister Advisor on Human Rights. However, it observes that thus far she has not received the resources, mandate and structure that would enable her to perform effectively and to transform the State so that it embraces a culture of respect for human rights. With the existing structure, it is virtually impossible for the Minister to have any significant impact on the observance of human rights.
123. At the meeting held with the Minister advisor on human rights, Ana Pineda, she stated that while the levels of aggression between those who opposed the coup d’Etat and those who supported it are not as high as they had been under the de facto government, the country is still polarized. She underscored the fact that while there are no systematic human rights violations, the main problem is the high rate of impunity. She insisted that investigation must be done by trained professionals and that the investigating body (the police), which depends on the Secretariat of Security, should, as far as possible, be subordinate to the Public Prosecutor’s Office again.
124. In this effort to restore democratic institutions, the Commission observes with concern that high-ranking Army officers or former members of the Army against whom complaints were brought for their participation in the coup d’état, are occupying executive positions in government offices under the administration of Porfirio Lobo. Thus, Division General Venancio Cervantes is Director General of the Bureau of Immigration and Alien Affairs (he was Deputy Head of the Joint Chiefs at the time of the coup d’état); Brigade General Manuel Enrique Cáceres is Director of Civil Aeronautics; former General Nelson Wily Mejía is in charge of the Bureau of the Merchant Marine, and former General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez is manager of the Honduran Telecommunications Company (Hondutel) (he was Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces at the time of the coup d’état).
125. The Commission is grateful for the letter that President Lobo sent to OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza on May 12, 2010, extending an open invitation for the inter-American system for the protection of human rights -in the form of its organs, especially the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights- to conduct official visits to Honduras whenever they deem such visits pertinent.