DonateNow
Stay tuned for something new!
In the coming months, MISF Media will launch a redesigned website. In the meantime, continue to check here for new editions of the "Honduras News in Review" and "Remembering 25 Years Ago" features.
Human Rights
in the Global Community
Overview
Global Bodies & Treaties
Current Issues
Human Rights–War on Terror News Update
Human Rights in Honduras
Overview
History
Current Issues
Honduras News in Review
Remembering 25 Years Ago
Search the Site:
Updated 03/12/2007

Honduras News in Review—March 12, 2007

1. Honduras has “serious human rights problems,” says State Department report
2. U.S. Ambassador meets with security personnel to discuss impunity and corruption
3. Police burn indigenous settlement in effort to force residents off land
4. Three transnational gas companies sue Honduras over gas pricing policy
5. More than 6,500 Hondurans deported from United States so far this year
6. IMF recommends increased tariffs, salary controls
7. Guatemalan police officers accused of killing Salvadoran congressmen found dead

1. Honduras has “serious human rights problems,” says State Department report
According to the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report for Honduras, released March 6, the country had “serious human rights problems” in 2006. Those noted in the report included unlawful killings by police and former members of the security forces, detainee abuse by security forces, the disappearance of a former dissident, lengthy pretrial detention and failure to provide due process of law. Government corruption, impunity for lawbreakers and gang violence exacerbated the problems, the report said. Some NGOs criticized the reports for Honduras and other Latin American countries, saying the Bush administration needed to acknowledge U.S. human rights violations, including torture and secret prisons, before it could credibly raise the issue with other countries. [Honduras: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2006; El Heraldo, 3/6/07; WOLA press release, 3/6/07]

2. U.S. Ambassador meets with security personnel to discuss impunity and corruption
U.S. Ambassador Charles Ford met with Honduran Security Minister Álvaro Romero to discuss ways to reduce impunity and corruption in the country. The two men discussed the possibility of a law that would purge the police of corrupt personnel. Ford said the United States was committed to helping Honduras reduce impunity and noted that Honduran agents have been trained in the United States in forensic investigations. The men discussed the assassination of human rights lawyer Dionisio García (HNR, 12/19/06). Romero said that the investigation was absolutely confidential but he expected the case to be completely resolved in a few months. [Hondudiario, 2/27/07]

3. Police burn indigenous settlement in effort to force residents off land
The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations reported that on March 1 police officers burned 40 houses of an indigenous Lenca community 80 kilometers northwest of Tegucigalpa to force them off the land they occupied. In a letter to President Manuel Zelaya, the attorney general and human rights groups, COPINH said the local police commissioner, with the public prosecutor and some 50 officers with assault rifles, came to the “September 15th” community, “persecuted the residents” and set fire to the houses. They also set fire to a coffee nursery, which spread to a nearby forest and destroyed more than 800 acres. The officers were allegedly clearing the area for the landowner. COPINH advisor Salvador Zuniga lamented that the judicial authorities were standing behind the landowner’s claim even though the land has ancestrally belonged to the Lencas. [El Heraldo, 3/6/07]

4. Three transnational gas companies sue Honduras over gas pricing policy
Texaco, Shell and Esso have filed a lawsuit against the state of Honduras, claiming the country’s new petroleum pricing formula has cost them each 20 million lempiras ($1 million). The courts will decide whether to admit the lawsuit, which seeks to repeal an executive order issued Jan. 13. The order set an “import parity pricing system” that uses a formula to fix gas prices. The new formula generated an immediate 8 lempira ($0.42) reduction in gas prices. The courts admitted a lawsuit filed by the Honduran gas company Dippsa. The lawsuit seeks to repeal the executive order that allowed the state of Honduras to use Dippsa’s storage facilities. [Hondudiario, 3/8/07; El Heraldo, 3/9/07]

5. More than 6,500 Hondurans deported from United States so far this year
The Honduran director of consular affairs, Ramón Valladares Soto, announced that 6,540 Hondurans living illegally in the United States were deported in the first two months of 2007. The majority were deported from Houston, Miami or Los Angeles. Around 1 million Hondurans live in the United States—some legally, some illegally—and their remittances totaled nearly $2.4 billion in 2006. Valladares said he coordinates with the Human Rights Commissioner and the Honduran Institute of Children and Family to help the deported individuals reintegrate. [Hondudiario, 2/26/07; EFE News, 2/26/07]

6. IMF recommends increased tariffs, salary controls
The International Monetary Fund published a report on conclusions from a February 2007 delegation to Honduras. The report was mostly favorable, citing real GDP growth of more than 5 percent, falling inflation and increased tax revenues. However, the delegation recommended a reduction in energy subsidies, an increase in electricity and telephone tariffs, and “greater discipline” over public sector wages. Honduran Central Bank President Gabriela Nuñez said that tariffs would not be increased. [El Heraldo, 3/9/07; Hondudiario, 3/9/07; IMF Public Information Notice 7/31, 3/8/07]

7. Guatemalan police officers accused of killing Salvadoran congressmen found dead
Four Guatemalan police officers accused of killing three Salvadoran congressmen and their driver were murdered Feb. 25 in a maximum security prison outside Guatemala City. There were conflicting reports as to how the men were killed. One source said a commando unit entered the prison and killed the men while others said gang members within the prison carried out the murders. Twenty-four people in the prison, most of them prison guards, were detained in connection with the murders. An additional four people were detained outside the prison. Authorities believe the murders of the congressmen and the accused police officers are linked to drug trafficking, though they do not believe the congressmen were themselves involved in trafficking. At least two other police officers are accused of being involved in the assassinations of the congressmen. One of the officers turned himself in and the other is still at large. The March and April sessions of the Central American Parliament will be moved to Nicaragua and Panama because of continuing security concerns in Guatemala. [EFE News, 2/26/07; La Prensa, 2/28/07; EFE News, 3/2/07; EFE News, 3/3/07; AFP, 3/9/07]

SUBSCRIBE to the Honduras News in Review e-mail update.

Go to the HNR archive for past editions of the News in Review.