Thursday, 30 July 2009

Report from human rights delegation to Honduras

Report from the International mission for solidarity, accompaniment,
and observation in Honduras [from my trusted friend and philosopher
colleague, Thomas Wallgren]:


An international mission for solidarity, accompaniment, and
observation in Honduras has arrived in Tegucigalpa on Monday 27th
July. (See mission statement with list of members, attached.)

On Monday, July 28th the mission was received by several local human
rights organizations. (See list at the end.) It also witnessed two
demonstrations organized by the supporters of the Zelaya government

On Tuesday, July 29th the delegation took part in a press-conference
organized by the Committee for relatives of disappeared detained
people in Honduras (el Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos
en Honduras COFADEH), announcing the mission and reporting about the
first observations of the mission. (See the press release enclosed –
in Spanish only.)

On the same day the mission accompanied two Hondurian human rights
organization in a a fact-finding mission to the border area of El
Paraiso, next to Nicaragua, with the camp of president Zelaya nearby
on the Nicaraguan side.

"Life in the capital of Tegucigalpa may seem normal to an outside
visitor at first sight," says Tom Kucharz, a Spanish delegate of the
mission. "At night here is however, curfew in the entire country, as
declared by the illegitimate president installed after the coup
d'etat, Roberti Micheletti. Heavy censorship, suspension of the
freedom of movement and gathering and the lack of credibility of the
information provided by the de facto government and authorities
controlled by it contribute to creating a situation of tension and
fear. There are two verified victims of politically related violence
and there is also a greatly heightened rate of murders in the capital
city of Tegucigalpa as reported by police sources and Human Rights
organizations. Rumors about mass detentions and violent oppression
prevail."

The convoy yesterday was allowed to pass through all way to the
border, contrary to what was the case when CODAFEH attempted two
earlier fact-finding missions since last Friday when the border was
first closed. Between Tegucigalpa and the border, a distance of a
little more than a 100 kilometers, there were 8 check-points, some of
which controlled by civilian police, some by the army and some by both
forces.

"We saw hundreds of heavily armed police and soldiers. The whole area
is very heavily militarized. The area between the last civilian
check-point and the border is de facto in a state of emergency
controlled completely by the army," says the Finnish member of the
mission, Thomas Wallgren.

"The situation at the border seems to have changed decisively during
the last days. On Friday 24th, when it was reported that Zelaya was
trying to enter the country, and during the first days after that, we
have several reports according to which crowds of people from various
parts of the country who support Zelaya headed to the border in what
seemed to be a spontaneous political movement with little coordination.

Yesterday, our mission met a group of 38 persons from an indigenous
group that was referred to as "lencas", who were on their way back
from the border area. The group, traveling in a hired truck, had been
stopped by an army check-point in El Paraiso and refused further
passage. They had decided to try to reach Nicaragua by crossing by
foot over the mountains. At the night of the 27th to the 28th they
were, as they reported to us, encircled by armed forces, captured and
given the choice between being detained in El Paraiso and returning
home. Overall, our conclusion is that the army has by now been
successful in its effort to prevent any movement of supporters of
Zelay to the border or in the border area," says Wallgren.

"What we see is a lot of psychological pressure, organized to
demoralize and demobilize the supporters of the legitimate government.
This appears to be a dictatorship with a civilian face" says Nora
Cortiña, the Argentinian leader of the mission.

Yesterday, when the mission stopped at the last civilian check-point
in El Paraiso, it was invited to meet with Xiomara Castro de Zelaya
who camps at the local district office there with her family, and
supporters. The first lady of the country, Xiomara Castro, has been
presented an offer by the military officers in charge there to
continue to the border, but only without her supporters. In a short
personal meeting in her temporary office, Xiomara informed us that she
has firmly rejected the offer. She says she will go only of all
citizens that want to go with her are granted there constitutional
right to travel freely in their own country.

Tegucigalpa, 29th July 2009

Phones in Honduras:
+504 - 898 52 607 / +504 – 964 23 566 / +504 – 965 93
265 / +504 965 91 621

e-mail: Tom Kucharz: agroecologia@ecologistasenaccion.org,
thomas.wallgren@helsinki.fi


Organisations that the mission has visited so far include:
El Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras (CODEH)
El Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras COFADEH
El Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la
Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT), FIAN-Internacional,
La Coalición Hondureña de Acción Ciudadana (CHAAC), and
Sindicato de Trabajadores de Bebidas y Similares (STIBYS)

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: Report from human rights delegation to Honduras 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. Report from human rights delegation to Honduras 27. 28.

29.
Report from the International mission for solidarity, accompaniment,
and observation in Honduras [from my trusted friend and philosopher
colleague, Thomas Wallgren]:


An international mission for solidarity, accompaniment, and
observation in Honduras has arrived in Tegucigalpa on Monday 27th
July. (See mission statement with list of members, attached.)

On Monday, July 28th the mission was received by several local human
rights organizations. (See list at the end.) It also witnessed two
demonstrations organized by the supporters of the Zelaya government

On Tuesday, July 29th the delegation took part in a press-conference
organized by the Committee for relatives of disappeared detained
people in Honduras (el Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos
en Honduras COFADEH), announcing the mission and reporting about the
first observations of the mission. (See the press release enclosed –
in Spanish only.)

On the same day the mission accompanied two Hondurian human rights
organization in a a fact-finding mission to the border area of El
Paraiso, next to Nicaragua, with the camp of president Zelaya nearby
on the Nicaraguan side.

"Life in the capital of Tegucigalpa may seem normal to an outside
visitor at first sight," says Tom Kucharz, a Spanish delegate of the
mission. "At night here is however, curfew in the entire country, as
declared by the illegitimate president installed after the coup
d'etat, Roberti Micheletti. Heavy censorship, suspension of the
freedom of movement and gathering and the lack of credibility of the
information provided by the de facto government and authorities
controlled by it contribute to creating a situation of tension and
fear. There are two verified victims of politically related violence
and there is also a greatly heightened rate of murders in the capital
city of Tegucigalpa as reported by police sources and Human Rights
organizations. Rumors about mass detentions and violent oppression
prevail."

The convoy yesterday was allowed to pass through all way to the
border, contrary to what was the case when CODAFEH attempted two
earlier fact-finding missions since last Friday when the border was
first closed. Between Tegucigalpa and the border, a distance of a
little more than a 100 kilometers, there were 8 check-points, some of
which controlled by civilian police, some by the army and some by both
forces.

"We saw hundreds of heavily armed police and soldiers. The whole area
is very heavily militarized. The area between the last civilian
check-point and the border is de facto in a state of emergency
controlled completely by the army," says the Finnish member of the
mission, Thomas Wallgren.

"The situation at the border seems to have changed decisively during
the last days. On Friday 24th, when it was reported that Zelaya was
trying to enter the country, and during the first days after that, we
have several reports according to which crowds of people from various
parts of the country who support Zelaya headed to the border in what
seemed to be a spontaneous political movement with little coordination.

Yesterday, our mission met a group of 38 persons from an indigenous
group that was referred to as "lencas", who were on their way back
from the border area. The group, traveling in a hired truck, had been
stopped by an army check-point in El Paraiso and refused further
passage. They had decided to try to reach Nicaragua by crossing by
foot over the mountains. At the night of the 27th to the 28th they
were, as they reported to us, encircled by armed forces, captured and
given the choice between being detained in El Paraiso and returning
home. Overall, our conclusion is that the army has by now been
successful in its effort to prevent any movement of supporters of
Zelay to the border or in the border area," says Wallgren.

"What we see is a lot of psychological pressure, organized to
demoralize and demobilize the supporters of the legitimate government.
This appears to be a dictatorship with a civilian face" says Nora
Cortiña, the Argentinian leader of the mission.

Yesterday, when the mission stopped at the last civilian check-point
in El Paraiso, it was invited to meet with Xiomara Castro de Zelaya
who camps at the local district office there with her family, and
supporters. The first lady of the country, Xiomara Castro, has been
presented an offer by the military officers in charge there to
continue to the border, but only without her supporters. In a short
personal meeting in her temporary office, Xiomara informed us that she
has firmly rejected the offer. She says she will go only of all
citizens that want to go with her are granted there constitutional
right to travel freely in their own country.

Tegucigalpa, 29th July 2009

Phones in Honduras:
+504 - 898 52 607 / +504 – 964 23 566 / +504 – 965 93
265 / +504 965 91 621

e-mail: Tom Kucharz: agroecologia@ecologistasenaccion.org,
thomas.wallgren@helsinki.fi


Organisations that the mission has visited so far include:
El Comité para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos en Honduras (CODEH)
El Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras COFADEH
El Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la
Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT), FIAN-Internacional,
La Coalición Hondureña de Acción Ciudadana (CHAAC), and
Sindicato de Trabajadores de Bebidas y Similares (STIBYS)

30. 31. 32.