Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zelaya is back - but the human rights crisis in Honduras continues

The Organization of American States has readmitted Honduras to the association, two years after the military coup that led to widely disputed elections and deteriorating human rights conditions.

The vote came just three days after deposed president Mel Zelaya's return to the country, a deal brokered primarily by the presidents of Venezuela and Colombia. It also comes in the midst of an escalating human rights crisis.

As the crisis has deepened, U.S. aid to security forces has not swayed, despite reports from the U.S. Department of State itself found Honduran counter-narcotic and military units are “focused more on internal political matters related to the political crisis.”

To date no one has been prosecuted or convicted for any of the politically-motivated killings of members of the political opposition or journalists since Lobo took office, let alone for the over 300 killings by state security forces since the coup, according to COFADEH, the leading independent human rights group.

Zelaya's return is a step in the right direction, but re-admittance to the OAS isn't a signal that the crisis has settled. Nor does it justify U.S. military aid to Honduran security forces.

Witness for Peace has brought delegations of U.S. citizens to Honduras since immediately following the coup. In this new video, the team on-the-ground points to how the United States has tried to sweep the crisis under the rug - and why.



"It's important to remember that there are serious human rights issues in Honduras that urgently need to be addressed," U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern said. This week Reps. McGovern Jan Schakowsky and Sam Farr submitted a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing concern on the human rights situation in Honduras.

For weeks prior, Witness for Peace supporters mobilized around the letter. 87 other members of Congress also signed the letter to Secretary Clinton.
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