Tuesday, 13 October 2009

International Federation of Human Rights urges European Union on Honduras

The open letter below from FIDH urges the European Union to maintain a forceful position on the coup d’état in Honduras and to reject the electoral process in view of persistent human rights violations

Your Excellencies the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of European Union Member States,

I write to you as the President of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) to express my deep concern at the situation in Honduras and the repeated human rights violations perpetrated there with total impunity.

In spite of the efforts at conciliation made by the Organization of American States (OAS) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, in the past few days the de facto government has again demonstrated that it is unwilling to find a negotiated and peaceful settlement to the situation brought about by the military coup; it refuses to reinstate the constitutionally elected president, Manuel Zelaya, and has stepped up the repression.

The golpistas have said they will revoke decree 016-2009, which was issued after the return to the country of President Zelaya and which suspends constitutional guarantees (including freedom of expression and of movement), for 45 days. However, that decision has not been published in the Diario Oficial, and the golpistas continue to invoke the decree to maintain their censorship and repression of the regime’s opponents and to make excessive use of force against them.

At the same time, the de facto government has adopted and published a new executive agreement (124-2009) instructing the Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (the National Telecommunications Commission, CONATEL) to revoke or cancel the permits and licences of radio and television station broadcasting messages “that generate (…) social anarchy against the democratic State, undermining social peace and human rights” [translated from the Spanish]. The repeal of decree 016-2009 notwithstanding (a repeal that has yet to be formally introduced), the de facto government has no intention of restoring one of the most fundamental constitutional guarantees: freedom of expression.

What is more, the repression continues, and all those publically rejecting the military coup continue to be threatened and persecuted. For example, journalists and politicians close to President Zelaya have been abducted, tortured and threatened, disciplinary action has been taken against judges opposing the coup, and the police continue to fire tear gas and plastic bullets at and to beat demonstrators assembling in front of the Guatemalan and United States embassies.

In view of the above, and of the persistent human rights violations in Honduras, the conditions have not been met for a legitimate electoral process that can be recognised by the international community, according to the United Nations Secretary-General, the United States Government and the OAS.

For all these reasons, the FIDH appreciates the reactions of the European Union and urges it to:

    * declare that, in the current situation of dictatorship in Honduras, it does not recognise the ongoing electoral process nor the outcome of the elections called for 20 November 2010;

    * uphold its demand that the constitutionally elected president, Manuel Zelaya, be reinstated as a sine qua non condition for the restoration of democratic order in Honduras;

    * reassert that it condemns the continued human rights violations being perpetrated in Honduras and the failure of the de facto government to find a peaceful solution;

    * again request the expulsion from the territory of the European Union of all members of the Honduran diplomatic corps backing the coup and introduce travel restrictions for officials and businessmen supporting the de facto government;

    * support the activities of the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor to monitor the situation in Honduras and call on it to take further preventive action.

Yours respectfully,

Souhayr Belhassen, President, FIDH