Honduran Government agrees to consult activists in implementation of law

19.08.2015

Fears the Honduran Government would pass critical regulations on the protection of activists and journalists without input by its key stakeholders may have eased, following decisive civil society action.

Fears the Honduran Government would pass critical regulations on the protection of activists and journalists without input by its key stakeholders may have eased, following decisive action by civil society.

In April, Honduras enacted the 'Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Legal Practitioners'. Whilst broadly welcomed, the law left many important details and civil society concerns to be addressed by enabling regulations and protocols (reglamentos y protocolos).

The Government looked ready to hastily pass these essential regulations last week, without consulting key stakeholders, raising concerns that critical issues would remain ignored and render the law effectively useless.

However, a joint letter by more than 20 national and international non-governmental organisations including ISHR seems to have changed this, with the Government now expressing interest in opening the process of developing the regulations to civil society.

The letter

Addressed to Rigoberto Chang Castillo, Honduras’ Secretary for Human Rights, Justice, Interior and Decentralization, the letter highlighted the many weaknesses of the law that remain to be addressed by the regulations. It also raised concerns that the regulations set to pass had not been developed through a transparent, participatory and inclusive process.

The letter said it would be difficult to successfully address the many challenges of the law and ensure the regulations meet their objectives under such time constraints. A postponement of the adoption of the regulations for a few months was requested, to enable better civil society collaboration on the proposed texts.

Next steps

ISHR’s Ben Leather says the new law and ensuing regulations have the potential to hugely bolster the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in Honduras, providing they are effectively implemented.

‘It was always expected the State should consult with activists and journalists and it’s therefore a relief to hear the process of passing the regulations has been slowed down to allow for this,’ he says.

‘The Government now needs to sit down with civil society to define the process through which human rights defenders can feed into drafting the regulations.’

For more information contact Ben Leather, ISHR’s Advocacy and Communications Manager, on b.leather@ishr.ch

Category:

Region
  • Latin America and Caribbean
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
Mechanism
  • National HRDs laws/policies
Country
  • Honduras