94 House Members and 7 Senators Sign Letters Concerning Human Rights Abuses in Honduras
House Members and 7 Senators Sign Letters Concerning Human Rights Abuses in
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday
March 13, 2012
Contact: Gary Cozette
Dana Frank 831.600.5525
DC - A letter
addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was released Monday by
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) signed by 94 members of the House of
Representatives concerning the deteriorating human rights situation in
one week ago a similar letter came from the Senate sponsored by Senator
Mikulski (MD) and signed by 6 fellow senators. Senator Mikulski’s Letter
details that over 300 people have been killed including 18 journalists who have
been murdered in politically related killings in Honduras since the 2009 coup
letters address the critical situation in Honduras’ rich agricultural region
called the Bajo Aguan where over 45 small-scale farmers have been killed in
coordinated actions between the Honduran police and military forces in an
operation called Xatruch II. The letters highlight that the Honduran state
security forces have been involved as perpetrators, acted in collusion with
private security forces or took no action in prosecuting human rights
violators. The Bajo Aguan’s 15th
Military Battalion in Bajo Aguán receives direct on the ground annual training
from the US Army Rangers.
the clear international outcry concerning the human rights crisis in Honduras,
the Obama administration has called for an increase is US military aid to
Honduras. The increased funding is allegedly to fight
the Drug War yet much of the violence in Honduras is politically motivated,
unrelated to drugs. US
military/police aid and training goes directly into the hands of a state that
is implicated in widespread abuses of its civilians,” said Tanya Cole of the
human rights group Witness for Peace Southwest, a member of the Honduras
Solidarity Network. In addition 10
US Labor Unions - including the AFL-CIO and American Federation of Teachers -
came out in support of Schakowsky’s letter.
Schakowsky’s Letter asks the State Department to:
- Suspend U.S.
assistance to the Honduran military and police given the credible
allegations of widespread, serious violations of human rights attributed
to the security forces.
- Investigate and
prosecute those responsible for murders, threats and other abuses In the
Bajo Aguan and across the country, and urge the Honduran government to
immediately suspend any members of military and police who have committed
or acted in collusion with such abuses..
- Provide the current
status of specific cases.
- Assure that the
Honduran government holds accountable private security companies that have
acted with impunity.
- Demand that Honduran
government comply with the agreements already signed with campesino
associations to address the land conflicts in the Bajo Aguán.
- Guarantee that the US
Embassy in Honduras provide information of its specific efforts to apply
the Leahy provisions in relation to abuses allegedly committed by members
of the police and military in the Bajo Aguán.
Schakowsky’s letter was signed by an unprecedented 94 members of House, and
indication of the growing concern of the failure of Honduran President Pepe
Lobo to end impunity,” said Gary Cozette of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network,
also a member of the Honduras Solidarity Network. ###