Last Updated: Wednesday, 09 July 2014, 13:04 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2006 - Honduras

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 23 May 2006
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2006 - Honduras, 23 May 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/447ff7a934.html [accessed 10 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The killing, torture, imprisonment on fabricated criminal charges and harassment of human rights defenders and indigenous community activists continued. Complaints of violence against women in the family continued to soar.

Background

In November elections, Manuel Zelaya of the opposition Liberal Party was elected President.

In June, Honduras had over half its external debt written off as part of a programme for heavily indebted poor countries. Some 64 per cent of the population lived in poverty, and Honduras ranked 116 out of 177 countries in the UN Human Development Index. Hurricanes left dozens dead, thousands homeless and crops destroyed.

Attacks on human rights defenders

Activists defending the environment and the rights of indigenous people were among those killed, tortured and imprisoned. The government showed little political will to end the abuses, instigated in most cases by powerful landowners or logging interests.

  • Edickson Roberto Lemus, regional coordinator of a leading peasant farmer organization, the National Union of Farm Workers, was killed on 24 May. An unidentified individual shot him on a bus. He was on his way to visit the peasant group Renacer (Rebirth) in the community of El Pajuiles, Yoro department, which had been served with an eviction order on 19 May. The authorities had reportedly said they could provide no protection after he received threats. By the end of 2005 no one had been identified or detained in relation to his killing.
  • Feliciano Pineda, a community leader in the municipality of Gracias, Lempira department, was attacked and seriously injured in June. He was handcuffed and arrested on his arrival at hospital, and subsequently imprisoned before he could receive proper medical treatment. Criminal charges brought against him were reportedly fabricated. In December he was acquitted of the charge of homicide but remained in prison on other lesser charges, despite the fact that the time limit for bringing him to trial on these charges had lapsed.
  • The case of convicted indigenous community leaders Marcelino and Leonardo Miranda, who were attempting to have 25-year prison sentences overturned, was still before the courts. They were convicted after a politically motivated trial because of their work to resolve local land disputes and defend indigenous rights. Both men were repeatedly tortured in pre-trial detention. An appeal on procedural defects submitted to the Supreme Court in 2004 was rejected in August. In October a new appeal, on defective application of the law, was submitted to the Supreme Court. A decision was pending at the end of 2005.

Violence against women

Special domestic violence courts were reportedly overwhelmed with growing numbers of complaints, said to total over 30,000 between 2000 and mid-2005. According to the Special Prosecutor for Women's Affairs, three out of 10 women who submitted complaints were eventually killed by their attacker. In August, Deputy Attorney General Omar Cerna was reported as acknowledging that allegations of violence in the family were not taken seriously enough.

  • In January, Marta Beatriz Reyes died after being set on fire while she slept, reportedly by her estranged husband. Taken to hospital in San Pedro Sula with second and third degree burns to 40 per cent of her body, she died 11 days later. After enduring years of violence, she had left her husband. Although she submitted several complaints to the police, they failed to protect her or take action.

Children and young people

A high level of killings of children and young people persisted, with 431 deaths in 2005. Government initiatives to investigate and bring those responsible to justice, promised in previous years, did not materialize, and the perpetrators continued to enjoy impunity.

  • The case of four young people who were killed in 1995 in Tegucigalpa was submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in February following failure by the government to act on recommendations made by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The four were among around 120 people detained by the police in September 1995. Their bodies were found two days later in different parts of the city; each had been shot several times in the back of the head. The case was representative of thousands of similar cases that the authorities have failed to investigate.
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