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Honduras Coup Condemned by Human Rights Experts

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Headlined to None 7/4/09

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Calling for the immediate restoration of democracy in Honduras and the lifting of curbs on fundamental freedoms, today four independent United Nations human rights experts voiced serious concern over the situation in Honduras following last weekend's coup d'état. The four internationally recognized human rights experts included Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council's Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, Manuela Carmena Castrillo; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya; and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue.

The experts said they were especially disturbed by reported arrests, threats and acts of harassment against human rights defenders, journalists and social leaders. In a statement issued in Geneva, the experts deplored what they called "the alteration of the democratic institutional order" in Honduras and the breaking of the rule of law in the coup.

The statement follows similar condemnations this week from the General Assembly and from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after military leaders deposed President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales last Sunday, hours before a referendum on changing the Honduran constitution was due to be held.

The experts urged the Government in Honduras to guarantee the human rights of all citizens, to ensure the free exercise of fundamental freedoms, the re-opening of media outlets that had been closed or suspended, and a ban on the use of excessive force by the armed forces and the police.

 

Lawrence J. Gist II is a dedicated pro bono attorney and counselor at law, adjunct professor of legal studies at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, CA, a member of the board of directors of the Institute of Indigenous Knowledges, and a veteran (more...)
 
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