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 09/06/2006

Honduras News in Review—September 6, 2006

1. Government sends soldiers and security guards into the streets to combat violence

2. Conference on historical memory marks National Day of the Detained-Disappeared

3. U.N. investigation finds Honduran men recruited as mercenaries

4. Striking nurses abandon critical areas of public hospitals

5. Study shows at least 3 million illegal weapons in circulation in Central America

6. Mine concessions subject to increased scrutiny

7. Honduran Medical School criticizes mining’s effects on public health

8. Four hundred Hondurans in four years have disappeared en route to the U.S.

9. City buses to run on biodiesel

10. Agreement will assist domestic violence survivors

11. Indigenous women’s organization given legal recognition

12. Campesinos denounce bank privatization


1. Government sends soldiers and security guards into the streets to combat violence

A newly created national security commission on Aug. 30 approved a crime-reduction plan that includes the virtual militarization of the streets of the country’s most violent cities. Around 10,000 soldiers from the Honduran Armed Forces will provide police reinforcement, and 30,000 security guards from private companies will also be incorporated into police activities to combat violent crime. The 11-point action plan also includes measures to speed up the registration process for vehicles and firearms in order to decrease the transport of illegal weapons. President Manuel Zelaya created the special commission—which includes officials from the legislative, judicial and executive branches and the national commissioner for human rights—in response to the rise in street violence and organized crime that the country has seen this year. [Hondudiario, 8/29/06; Hondudiario, 8/31/06; EFE News, 9/1/06]

2. Conference on historical memory marks National Day of the Detained-Disappeared

On the eve of the National Day of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras, Aug. 29, the Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (Cofadeh) held a conference in Tegucigalpa to educate the public on the “Nunca Más” (Never Again) methodology developed in Central America. According to Cofadeh, the Nunca Más campaign demands the rescue of an accurate historical memory in order to move forward. Participants in the conference included human rights defenders, environmentalists, journalists, judges, government officials, and representatives of international agencies including the United Nations. [Hondudiario, 8/29/6; Cofadeh press release, 8/29/06]

3. U.N. investigation finds Honduran men recruited as mercenaries

The U.N. Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries found that Latin American men are being recruited in Honduras and other countries to serve in combat situations in the Middle East. The men are contracted as private security guards and promised high salaries, but upon arriving at their posts, they find that their job is military in nature and their salaries are lower than expected. The working group said that this is a global phenomenon and men are increasingly being recruited in poor countries around the world. After a five-day investigatory visit to Honduras, the working group found that the state may have violated international and constitutional obligations by allowing recruitment and training in Honduras. [EFE News, 8/26/06; Adital, 8/31/06]

4. Striking nurses abandon critical areas of public hospitals

Just weeks after a salary settlement with schoolteachers, nurses in Honduras are demanding salary increases as well. Since Aug. 23, hundreds of nurses from at least 28 public hospitals in Honduras have been on strike. On Aug. 30, nurses at state hospitals abandoned emergency and other critical areas, such as those for cancer and hemodialysis, for four hours; they increased that time to eight hours the following day. The nurses are demanding a twofold increase in their current base salary ($421) over the next four years. Thus far, talks with government mediators have been unsuccessful, and the nurses are demanding direct dialogue with President Zelaya. [EFE News, 8/22/06; EFE News, 8/25/06; La Prensa, 8/25/06; EFE News, 8/31/06; El Heraldo, 9/1/06]

5. Study shows at least 3 million illegal weapons in circulation in Central America

According to a study by the Arias Foundation for Peace, at least 3 million illegal arms are circulating throughout Central America, and violence, especially among young people, has increased. The study, “The Face of Urban Violence in Central America: Weapons, Violence and Youth,” found that violence in the region is largely a masculine problem with a strong class component. Youth gangs, found primarily in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, proliferate in impoverished areas, and many gang members have suffered abuse or mistreatment, the study showed. [AFP, 8/27/06; Arias Foundation press release, 8/15/06]

6. Mine concessions subject to increased scrutiny

According to Environment Minister Mayra Mejía, at least 500 mining concessions will be subject to revision in Honduras. Mejía clarified that all mining companies, including those with well-established mining operations in the country, will be subject to the revision process. The environment ministry, along with President Zelaya and several congressmen, will investigate concessions in order to identify those that do not meet international standards. [Hondudiario, 8/21/06]

7. Honduran Medical School criticizes mining’s effects on public health

Authorities from the Honduran Medical School have spoken out against mining exploitation and demanded that the government prohibit any type of mining operation that harms the environment and public health. The demands come after a study showed high levels of contamination, which doctors say can cause a variety of terminal illness, near a mine in Valle de Siria. [La Prensa, 8/25/06]

8. Four hundred Hondurans in four years have disappeared en route to the U.S.

The Foreign Minister’s office in Honduras has received more than 400 missing-persons complaints in the last four years for Hondurans who left the country en route to the United States. Some relatives have received phone calls from kidnappers asking for ransom, but others traveling to the United States have simply disappeared. A much larger number of Hondurans are routinely deported from the United States; according to official data, 16,000 Hondurans have already been deported in 2006. [El Heraldo, 8/31/06]

9. City buses to run on biodiesel

Three hundred twenty urban transport buses in Tegucigalpa were scheduled to begin running on biodiesel on Sept. 1, and a total of 620 biodiesel buses were to be incorporated into the transport systems of San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba. The biodiesel currently contains five percent African palm oil, which is being cultivated in Honduras; the percentage of palm oil to diesel will increase to 20 percent by 2007. The price for the biodiesel will initially be the same as that for diesel but is expected to decrease as less diesel is used. [Hondudiario, 8/31/06]

10. Agreement will assist domestic violence survivors

The president of the National Women’s Institute of Honduras, Selma Estrada, and Tegucigalpa Mayor Ricardo Álvarez signed an agreement on Aug. 24 intended to provide more assistance to women who are victims of domestic violence. The agreement establishes a Woman’s Office within the mayor’s office of Tegucigalpa that will promote development projects aimed at women and provide legal assistance to women whose rights have been violated, particularly those who have suffered from domestic violence. [Hondudiario, 8/24/06]

11. Indigenous women’s organization given legal recognition

The Honduran National Council of Indigenous Lenca Women was granted legal status by the state of Honduras in a ceremony on Aug. 29. The council unites Lenca women and encourages them to develop small businesses through provided technical and financial assistance. [Hondudiario, 08/29/06]

12. Campesinos denounce bank privatization

Campesino groups have denounced the intended privatization of Banadesa, the state bank in charge of promoting agriculture and cattle farming through the provision of low-interest loans. The groups are also demanding the ouster of Banadesa President José Segovia. The campesinos fear that bank privatization will force them to put up the titles to their land in order to receive loans, and thus risk losing their land to the bank. Segovia argues that privatization will turn Banadesa from a politicized government entity into an institution in which the campesinos have more power. [Hondudiario, 8/24/06]


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

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