Thursday, 24 September 2009

UN suspends assistance to Honduran electoral body

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has temporarily suspended United Nations technical assistance to the electoral authority in Honduras, saying current conditions are not conducive to the holding of credible polls.

The political crisis continues in the Central American nation, which earlier this week witnessed the return to the capital of the recently ousted President. Since Monday, José Manuel Zelaya, who was forced from office by the military in late June, has been seeking refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. According to media reports, troops have surrounded the embassy and services such as electricity, water and telephone were cut off for a time on Tuesday before being partially restored.

Mr. Ban “does not believe conditions are currently in place for the holding of credible elections that would advance peace and stability,” his spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the UN is concerned about the current situation and allegations of human rights violations.

“The Secretary-General is convinced that an end to the crisis in Honduras requires a consensual agreement and supports regional mediation efforts to that end.

“He joins the Organization of American States (OAS) and regional leaders in calling for an agreement and urges all political actors to redouble efforts to find common ground through peaceful dialogue,” the statement added.

The United Nations system in Honduras has also voiced its concern about the current situation, stating that it is the responsibility of the State to guarantee the life, freedom and security of all of its citizens in conformity with the international human rights treaties ratified by Honduras, the Constitution of the Republic and national legislation.

“The use of force, in any form, by agents of the authorities, applied without regard to the criteria of need and proportionality, violates the right to life and integrity,” it said in a statement issued yesterday in the capital.