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Human Rights in Honduras

Many Americans are to some degree familiar with the United States’ involvement in the Central American civil conflicts of the 1980s. They may know of the tens of thousands of deaths in the Salvadoran civil war, of the government-sponsored genocide of indigenous people in Guatemala, of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, or at least the name “Iran-Contra affair.” However, few are aware that the United States operated its campaign of destructive intervention from Honduras or that the Honduran people were also victims of egregious human rights violations.

The legacy of human rights abuses committed in Honduras in the 1980s lingers today. This issue gained international attention in the late 1980s through the 1990s as human rights organizations demanded justice, a Honduran human rights commissioner sought access to U.S information that would aid in prosecuting perpetrators, and the U.S. Congress and President Clinton pledged their help. Unfortunately, Honduran prosecutors have met with little success, U.S. officials have as yet failed in their support, and the international community has largely forgotten about Honduras. Meanwhile, Honduran human rights abusers live with impunity and U.S. policy makers who were involved in or knew about abuses have not been held accountable for their role.

You can learn more about the abuses of the 1980s in our History and Remembering 25 Years Ago sections, read about the human rights situation in Honduras today in our Current Issues section, and follow the latest human-rights related news in the Honduras News in Review section.