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 01/09/2007

Honduras News in Review—January 9, 2007

1. Police kill two environmental leaders; human rights commission orders protective measures

2. Honduras sees string of lawyer murders

3. Inter-American Commission requests protective measures following death of human rights lawyer

4. Government auditors hope to stem police corruption

5. U.N. adopts convention against forced disappearance

6. Rights group receives government funding

7. Marchers commemorate Chamelecón massacre

1. Police kill two environmental leaders; human rights commission orders protective measures

The Environmental Movement of Olancho (MAO) announced that on Dec. 20 members of the national police summarily executed two of their leaders in Guarizama, a town in the Olancho province. Heraldo Zuñiga and Roger Ivan Cartagena, who had worked to stop illegal logging in Honduran forests, were shot in the main plaza of the town. Before Zuñiga died, he told onlookers that loggers employed by the Sansone logging company had paid police Sgt. Juan Lanza to assassinate him. According to the MAO, Zuñiga had reported receiving death threats from the loggers the previous day. Environmental activists had been significantly concerned about threats since May 2006, when President Manuel Zelaya declared a logging ban in several Olancho municipalities, a move that timber companies blamed on the activists. The death threats had been such that in May the MAO petitioned the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to order the Honduran government to implement protective measures. Two days after the deaths of the activists, the commission granted the request and gave the state of Honduras a deadline of Jan. 6 to implement measures to protect the lives of MAO activists. [MAO press release, 12/20/06; CEJIL press release, 12/26/06]

2. Honduras sees string of lawyer murders

Four Honduran lawyers have been murdered over the past two months. The most recent death occurred on Dec. 20 in Tegucigalpa, when Chávez Amaya, who worked for the Department of Public Works, Transportation and Housing, and his neighbor, Mauro Vargas, were shot and killed in the early morning hours. Oscar Armando Callejas was shot as he left a San Pedro Sula prison on Nov. 8; Marco Abidàn López, a lawyer in private practice, was killed on Nov. 27; and Dionisio Díaz García, a human rights lawyer, was killed on Dec. 4. The Bar Association of Honduras maintains all of the murders were related to the victims’ work in the legal profession. [EFE News, 12/20/06]

3. Inter-American Commission requests protective measures following death of human rights lawyer

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Dec. 20 requested that the Honduran government adopt measures to protect the lives of several journalists and others associated with the Association for a More Just Society (ASJ). A lawyer for ASJ, Dionisio Díaz García, was murdered on Dec. 4 after receiving anonymous threats. Other personnel of ASJ have been followed and intimidated, leading the Inter-American Commission to ask the Honduran government to guarantee the lives and physical integrity of those threatened. The Inter-American Commission requested that the government report on the measure they adopt within 15 days. [EFE News, 12/21/06; C-Libre press release, 12/21/06]

4. Government auditors hope to stem police corruption

Hundreds of police in Honduras will be audited and investigated for links to organized crime, according to the Public Accounting Authority. Police of all ranks must submit a sworn statement of their assets. Those who have average salaries but large bank accounts, several properties or big houses will be investigated for corruption. The government hopes these investigations will weed out corrupt cops and lessen the influence of organized crime on security forces in Honduras. [Hondudiario, 12/18/06]

5. U.N. adopts convention against forced disappearance

On Dec. 20 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance. The convention establishes mechanisms to help states prevent forced disappearance and to fight against impunity for past disappearances. The Committee of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) urged the Honduran government to sign and ratify the convention. At least 185 people disappeared in Honduras in the 1980s and early ‘90s, and according to COFADEH, only five remains have been positively identified. [FIDH press release, 12/21/06; EFE News, 12/21/06; more info on the convention]

6. Rights group receives government funding

For the first time in its history, the Honduran Congress has included funds for a nongovernmental organization in its budget. The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CODEH) will receive 4 million lempiras ($211,700). The president of CODEH, Andrés Pavón, said that the contribution will further the public agenda since the organization is part of several government committees and initiatives and its fundamental purpose is to build democracy and strengthen the rule of law. [Hondudiario, 12/19/06]

7. Marchers commemorate Chamelecón massacre

On Dec. 23 a massive march of people from 56 neighborhoods, the national police, the fire department and several churches commemorated the second anniversary of the Chamelecón massacre, in which gang members boarded a bus on its way from the center of San Pedro Sula to the poor suburb of Chamelecón, shooting and killing 28 people. Five gang members are in prison for committing the crime, but the intellectual authors have not been captured. [La Tribuna, 12/23/06] 

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

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