Urgent Action: Repression in Honduras Continues

Here is an update on Honduras from our friends at Friendship Office of the Americas in Washington, DC. PPF and many of our faith-based colleagues signed on to the letter linked here and mentioned in the alert.

http://friendshipamericas.org/sites/default/files/Open%20Letter%20CDV%20...

Honduras is reeling after heavy repression was unleashed across the country yesterday in response to a nationwide strike. For two weeks, state security forces have responded to peaceful protests with increasingly violent repression leaving scores of detained and injured. Ilse Ivania Velzaquez, a teacher and co-founder of COFADEH was tragically killed due to a tear gas canister fired at her head.

The Commission of Truth reports that Eddy Guifarro Mejia, a member of the security team, was badly beaten by police yesterday. After beating his head with their guns, police opened fire on him when he broke free and ran to escape. Eddy is currently being treated for severe head injuries.

On Monday March 28th, staff of the Commission of Truth Office in San Pedro Sula was startled by a loud explosion on the roof that caused damage to the ceiling. Attorney Brenda Mejía, regional Coordinator of the office, had just returned to Honduras after participating in the March 25th, Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) hearings, on the issue of "Criminalization of Social Protest" in Honduras. After her presentation, a Honduran military officer attending the hearing spoke to Brenda in an intimidating manner. The incident was reported to the Prosecutors Office however, there is yet no conclusive determination as to what occurred.

Meanwhile, for over one week, the Commission of Truth Office for the Attention of Victims in Tegucigalpa has been impacted by excessive amounts of tear gas fired by police and military at the COPEMH (Association of Secondary Teachers of Honduras) headquarters located nearby. This morning we learned that during the night, a window was broken in this office, headed by Nora Miselem, who is a torture survivor from the repression of the 1980s.

This week, an "Open letter to the distinguished members of the international diplomatic corps and international organizations with a presence or focus on Honduras," signed by 127 organizations from the Americas and Europe, was delivered to the diplomatic corps in Honduras expressing support for the work of the Commission of Truth and requesting their support in insisting on the protection of the staff of the Commission, all victims, families and witnesses.

Given the relentless repression, alarming, excessive use of force on the part of state security forces, and recent attacks against the Commission of Truth, we ask you to:

Call your members of Congress today:

-Express your concern for a second consecutive week of violent repression and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters on the part of state security forces in Honduras.

-Ask your member of Congress to call the U.S. Embassy in Honduras and ask what the U.S. is doing to demand restraint and respect for human rights on the part of Honduran security forces.

Go to http://www.house.gov/ to get info for your member of Congress, and call: 202-224-3121
Go to http://www.senate.gov/ to get information for your Senator, and call: 202-224-3121

Call the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa: 011-504-2236-9320 or 2238-5114

Please leave the same message: for Ambassador Llorens, Simon Henshaw and Jeremy Spector.

Thank you for helping to accompany the people and those who defend human rights in Honduras.

In Hope and Peace,

Jenny Atlee
Friendship Office