Human Rights Corner
State Department Releases 2009 Report on Human Rights
March 11, 2010
TEGUCIGALPA, M.D.C. - On March 11, the Department of State released the 2009 Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices covering the period between January 1 – December 31, 2009. These Country Reports, which are produced for 194 countries and are mandated by the U.S. Congress, describe human rights conditions around the world with a view to raising awareness about and strengthening respect for human rights. The report is meant to document the protection of human rights through examples and its scope is not to document every alleged human rights violation.
Before the June 28, 2009 coup d’état, Honduras faced substantial challenges in the protection of human rights, had one of the Western Hemisphere’s highest homicide rates, and some killings appearing to be politically motivated. The human rights climate deteriorated significantly following the coup, especially with regard to respect for the rights of women, members of ethnic communities and sexual minorities and other vulnerable groups. While the de facto regime was in power, there were incidents resulting in loss of life, disproportionate use of force, including beatings by security forces of protestors, sexual assaults, as well as other serious human rights abuses. The de facto regime engaged in substantial interference with freedom of movement, association, expression, and assembly. During this period, we expressed to the Honduran Attorney General, members of the security forces, and the Human Rights Ombudsman, among others, our serious concerns about reported human rights abuses. We also expressed our concerns publicly and called on all parties involved in the crisis to take measures necessary to respect human rights.
We welcome President Lobo’s signing of the Chapultepec Declaration, which committed the Honduran state to respect freedom of the press and expression and to defend human rights. In addition, we note that the Ministry of Security issued a press release on March 4 expressing its commitment to the full investigation of allegations and respect for human rights by police. These are positive steps forward in light of the human rights problems documented in the 2009 report.
The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa will continue to monitor closely the human rights situation in Honduras and will work with President Lobo’s government to ensure strengthened respect for human rights and accountability with respect to abuses committed after June 28.
The 2009 Honduras Country Report on Human Rights Practices is available on the Department of State website.