Honduras: Prioritise and urgently implement UPR recommendations to protect human rights defenders

25.09.2015

Honduras should prioritise and ensure the urgent and effective implementation of UPR recommendations on the protection of human rights defender protection in the country, where defenders face physical attacks and even murder.

(Geneva) - Honduras should prioritise and ensure the urgent and effective implementation of UPR recommendations on the protection of human rights defender protection in the country, where defenders face physical attacks and even murder, ISHR said today.

At the Human Rights Council today the Honduran Government accepted more than 21 recommendations pertaining to the protection of human rights defenders, as members of local civil society denounced the grave risks faced by local activists, and women human rights defenders in particular. The session marked the adoption of the report of Honduras’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

In a joint statement delivered by ISHR, Delcia Zavala of JASS Mesoamerica and the Honduran Women Human Rights Defenders Network, denounced the complicity of businesses in criminalising human rights defence, whilst highlighting that the proper consultation of communities affected by mega-projects is a necessary component of human rights defender protection. The statement was supported by the Honduran UPR Platform (Plataforma EPU), a coalition of 52 national human rights organisations.

‘The Honduran State has made a public commitment to the protection of human rights defenders today,’ said ISHR’s Ben Leather, ‘It is now imperative that it take immediate steps to keep defenders safe, starting with high level public statements to recognise their vital work and their right to interact with the UPR’. In recent months, both Honduran authorities and the media have questioned the motive of civil society interaction with the UPR, as part of a stigmatisation campaign.

In addition to stigmatisation, human rights defenders in Honduras also face threats, physical attacks and even murder, as documented in a recent ISHR joint submission to the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. However, the response from States through the UPR was emphatic, with a range of recommendations demanding the effective implementation of the recently approved Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Legal Practitioners. Local and international civil society have highlighted the need to fill the law’s gaps through the upcoming regulation process.

‘What was impressive about the review of Honduras was the, on the one hand, the breadth of the countries making recommendations on defender protection, and on the other hand the quality of the recommendations being made’. Many national and international organisations, including ISHR, had called for defender-related recommendations in their submissions to the process.

Recommendations called for by ISHR and made by States included calls to end impunity for crimes against defenders (made by States including Poland, Norway, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Austria and Slovenia), to recognise defenders (Colombia), to create a safe and enabling environment for their work (Italy, Australia, Spain, Sweden), to create a mechanism for their protection (Chile, East Timor, Estonia) and to implement the human rights defender protection law properly (Switzerland, Belgium, Uruguay, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Ireland, France, Italy, Peru, Paraguay, the Netherlands, Sierra Leone).

For more: see video of ISHR's joint statement to the Human Rights Council on the adoption of the UPR on Honduras.

For more information, contact ISHR’s Ben Leather (b.leather@ishr.ch) or Daysi Flores of JASS Mesoamerica (floresday@justassociates.org

Category:

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