Ministry representative accuses NGOs of destabilising the country
Honduras pide a la ONU apoyo para crear un diálogo nacional entre las fuerzas políticas https://t.co/AzjrEFIeVC— El Mundo CR (@elmundocr) February 7, 2018
As reported recently on the Monitor, Honduras fell into a serious crisis after the November 2017 presidential elections, the results of which were contested by the opposition party and civil society organisations. Demonstrators took to the streets and were met with excessive force by the police, which left more than 30 people dead and many injured. To put an end to the post-electoral crisis, a national dialogue was proposed and a delegation of the United Nations (UN) arrived in Honduras on 5th February 2018 to conduct initial talks with different actors in the country and assess the situation. UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres will select the participants for the national dialogue in the near future.
Régimen de JOH amenaza con suspender personería jurídica a ONGs que defienden al pueblo - https://t.co/Kuyynvolxy pic.twitter.com/ezNYww42ak— Criterio.hn (@criteriohn) February 5, 2018
During a radio interview, a representative of the Ministry of Interior who is responsible for managing NGO registration in the country reportedly stated that: "I have noticed that a large part of the problems of the political crisis are being promoted by international organisations, in this case, some NGOs". Without explicitly mentioning names, Interior Ministry representative Jose Herrera claimed that two organisations in Copán had contributed to destabilising the sociopolitical situation in the country and that those actions could justify revoking their legal status. Media outlet Criterio.hn reported that a spokesperson from two NGOs - ACI Participa and Asociación de Organizaciones No Gubernamentales - believes that the threats are aimed at these two organisations due to their activities against a mining project in Azacualpa and in which several politicians allegedly have business interests.
It was reported that on 12th February 2018 armed men attacked the mayor of Guarizama in northeastern Honduras. Mayor Roman Diaz is a member of Partido Liberal (Liberal Party) and claims that he has previously never received threats and does not know who is responsible for the attack. However, as reported in a prior update on the Monitor, it is important to note that several political activists from the opposition were targeted and attacked prior to the November 2017 election.
In a separate incident, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders reported that according to their sources, the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights will hold a judicial hearing against police officers accused of abusing authority and using torture and illegal detention against 12 human rights defenders in 2017. The organisation urged the Honduran government to:
"Ensure that those responsible for the acts perpetrated against the 12 human rights defenders are brought before a competent, independent, fair and impartial tribunal to apply the penal sanctions provided for by law".
#Honduras: Audiencia de imputación contra 3 policías por los actos de tortura y malos tratos ocurridos el 8 de septiembre de 2017 en contra de 12 personas defensoras de #DerechosHumanos. ¡Estos hechos no deben quedar impunes! https://t.co/AylpdZM895 pic.twitter.com/lPjvLVmEIQ— The Observatory (@OBS_defenders) February 7, 2018
The Guardian published an article on the Honduran government's acquisition of surveillance technology, reportedly sold by the British government prior to the 26th November 2017 elections. The software has the ability to monitor messages sent through WhatsApp, as well as track emails and social media activity. Opposition leaders in Honduras have asked the British government to revoke the license that allows the Honduran government to use this technology, asserting that the surveillance has been used to intimidate activists and critics.
Periodista se refugia en Estados Unidos tras graves amenazas en Honduras @EdisonLanza @UnescoUMA https://t.co/zZDCwm8oeY— clibre (@CLibrehn) February 14, 2018
Journalist Bictor Ruiz Hernandez had to leave Honduras in early February 2018, one year after receiving death threats. He asked for protection under the state protection mechanism for journalists in the country. However, after deeming the protection measures inadequate, he decided to leave the country. Soon after he left to United States, the house where he lived - and where his family currently lives - was attacked.
In another incident, it was reported that journalist Cesar Silva was attacked by a man who tried to stab him while he was covering a protest outside a hospital on 12th February 2018.
A pesar del mal historial del gobierno de Honduras en el respeto a los derechos humanos, el gobierno británico le vendió al país spyware antes de las elecciones de noviembre: https://t.co/T9hdrO374Q— R3D (@R3Dmx) February 21, 2018
Honduras is currently on the Monitor Watch List of countries where there is an urgent, immediate and developing threat to civic space.
Civic Space Developments