Rights group urges Honduras to investigate violations stemming from 2009 coup

[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [official website] on Monday accused the Honduran government of failing to address human rights violations [press release] stemming from the June 2009 coup [JURIST report] that removed Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] from power. AI contends that hundreds of people opposed to the coup have been beaten and detained since the coup. The group cited evidence that judges critical of the coup have "suffered a series of arbitrary transferrals and unfair disciplinary proceedings" as well as threats and intimidation. AI also expressed concern about attacks on members of the media, which have risen since the new government came to power. The Honduran government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission [JURIST report] last month to determine what happened before, during and after the coup, but AI argues that the commission will not go far enough to prevent future human rights violations, saying "[t]ruth commissions should be one part of a comprehensive national plan devised to protect the rights of victims of human rights violations. In addition to this, the government must ensure investigation, justice and reparation for victims." Zelaya supporters have rejected the commission as a farce and have pledged not to cooperate with investigators. A final report by the commission is expected in January.

Last January, Honduran President Porfirio Lobo [NYT profile] granted amnesty to both Zelaya and military leaders accused of participation in the coup. Also in January, the Honduran Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] exonerated six military leaders [JURIST report] accused of abuse of power for their alleged roles in the coup. In December, the Honduran Congress voted 111-14 not to reinstate [JURIST report] Zelaya. His ouster was the result of a judicial order [press release, in Spanish] that asserted Zelaya had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform [JURIST report], contrary to a Supreme Court ruling.

 

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