Tell Congress: Protect Honduran human rights defenders!
Members of a prominent Honduran human rights organization, The Committee of Family-Members of The Detained and Disappeared (COFADEH), have been targeted with death threats, intimidation and physical aggression. And the perpetrators didn’t stop there. International human rights observers of the U.S.-based Honduras Accompaniment Project (PROAH) who have provided protective accompaniment to members of COFADEH have also received death threats.
Berta Oliva, general coordinator of COFADEH, says that these acts should be seen within the greater context of human rights violations in Honduras. Since the U.S.-backed coup in 2009, Honduras has been in a human rights crisis. Rural farmers, afro-descendents, LGBTI and indigenous people are constantly the targets of intimidation, kidnappings, torture, illegal detention and assassinations. Journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders risk their lives to expose these injustices. And in the majority of cases, Berta Oliva explains, the targets of these attacks are those who in one way or another have opposed the coup d’état.
While the human rights crisis swells in impunity, the United States supplies arms and training to the Honduran military and police. The United States gave $9.8 million to Honduran police and military in 2011 and has $8 million budgeted for 2012. In addition, $50 million has been allotted to Soto Cano Air Base (Palmerola). Far from quelling these abuses, the aid has only made them worse.
Tell congress, ‘NO' to U.S.-lead militarization and ‘YES’ to the work of human rights defenders in Honduras.