Sunday, August 23, 2009

Summary of Initial Findings of CIDH from Organization of American States

August 21 Tegucigalpa, Francisco Morazan, Honduras

CIDH Delegation
Patricia Mejia Guerrero, Victor Abramovich, Felipe Gonzalez, Paolo Carozza, Santiago Canton, and Catalina Bolero.

CIDH had requested a visit on June 30,2009
They received an answer on July 13, 2009
Since that date they were coordinating the visit with the President of the Honduran Supreme Court.

Priliminary Information is based on information received before and during the visit.

The delegation will prepare a formal report that will be published.

During the visit the CIDH met with representatives of the interim government and diverse sectors of society.

They received more than 100 people who presented complaints, testimony and information about events in Honduras.

In Tegus the delegation met with the three different branches of government (I find this amusing since they claim there is a constitutional rupture in government yet we have three working branches of government and they just admitted it), defenders of civil rights, political leaders, social leaders, organizations not organized by government, and parents.

The 19th of August the delegation went to Tocoa in the department of Colón and San Pedro Sula in the department of Cortés. The meetings were held with civil society and local authorities.

In Tocoa 40 teachers, reporters, political leaders, and social leaders were attended along with police and military.

More than 50 people were attended in San Pedro Sula from different factions of society as well as police, reporters and military.

August 20 meetings were held in El Paraiso and Comayagua.

Political power is to protect public and rights guarantees regardless of situation that occurred on June 28.

The CIDH had solicited information on 5 missing individuals they found that 3 of these had resolved when it was found that the people had left and went into hiding. The wherabouts of two are still unknown.  The last time one was seen was at a protest on July 12,2009 and the other was kidnapped from their home on July 26, 2009. (kidnappings are very common in Honduras so this disappearance may not be related to the events I haven´t seen who it is and what has been studied as to this so I will look at this lightly especially since thousands disappear every year in the US without a trace and it is not government related)

The biggest complaints of CIDH are as follows
A strong military presence after June 28.  (The thing is that this is not unusual in Honduras to see a strong military presence so while it might disturb others to see police and military revision stations on the road it is normal life here in Honduras and didn´t start on June 28.)

The suspension of guarantees during curfew and the complaint that this doesn´t conform to their requirements because the government in charge isn´t legitimate in their eyes however, I find that quite interesting since in this report they charge that the interim government is required to do everything they can to protect the public even if they aren´t viewed as legitimate but then when they do act in interest of the public..which it was since crime dropped like a lead balloon during these curfews, it is also illegitimate...hmmm

Not enough judicial resources to guarantee essential rights(this was the case BEFORE June 28 but they didn´t seem to have a complaint then)

The delegation admits that the strong military presence is constitutionally and internationally legal and is the norm in Honduras however, they are concerned with the presence but are under the understanding that the military is working under the direction of the National Police and Cobra units.
The delgation argues that while military use is permitted in extreme cases of unrest they should control themselves to the maximum degree because they are not trained to control internal disturbances(in Honduras they are) The delegation argues that military is trained to defeat the enemy and not protection and control of civilians.  (however, I think it was actually wise to involve Honduran military who is known for not being corrupt while our police is very corrupt and I think that the deaths and maltreatment would have been much worse by now if the military were not involved.)

CIDH acknowledges that art 27 of the convention allows the temporary suspension of guarantees in a state of war, public danger, or other emergencies that threaten any part of the security of the State.

Their biggest complaint is they don´t believe that Micheletti is allowed to implement this because international communities don´t see him as legitimate...but again they already said he is required to do everything he must to protect society...which it seems a curfew would fall under this title.

They argue that they will analize the compatibility of the decree with international norms in particular article 27 to see if both are compatible.

The delgation finds that when a person is released from detention their case has been resolved.  and that it is in fact the case that there are no political prisoners.

The delegation does find that the conditions of prisons are not up to standard.  (these are the same prisons Zelaya used and there was no problem then)

The delegation acknowledges that both local and international law allows for detention without charge up to 24 hours and that all detainees except those charged were held less than 24 hours and some as few as 45 minutes.

The delegation is concerned with threats that several judges have received on part of the resistence as well as bad treatment and intimidation of these judges by the resistence protestesters.

The CIDH found however, that the Attorney General had not initialized many investigations about detentions and people injured that had been treated in hospitals. The Attorney General didn´t make an official list because the people involved did not want to communicate their complaints to the Attorney General because they don´t recognize the institution.
The commision thinks that it is inherent that the functions still occur even without regard to the victims lack of participation in complaint(this is impossible in Honduras since the offended has to make an official complaint for an investigation to be opened.  If they don´t open a formal complaint no one else can)

The institutional deterioration has affected Honduran social life without a doubt.
One example of this is the RIGHT TO EDUCATION for children .  The delegation has received these complaints and will inform of conclusions of the investigation.

The delegation does complain as well about arbitrary electrical outages but electrical outages are a weekly thing for many sectors of society. My lights have went out about four times since June 28 and I know of many sectors who have lost lights and water many times..but this was normal before June 28 as well.

The delegation understands that the state has a right to put limitations on protests to assure that they remain pacific and the right to contain protesters who become violent.

Use of guns with real bullets should only be used in extreme measures when life is threatened.

The delegation admits that there were violent protests some of them violent to a serious gravity including gravity of violence against people and private property on behalf of protesters.  Examples of this are the burning of a restaurant, a bus and the attack on a Congressman and several reporters. (he isn´t just any Congressman he is the vice president of Congress. Our last vice president was murdered during primaries last year)

The delegation has verified that the four questionable deaths are being investigated by authorities to dictate responsibility and in addition the killing of Obed Murillo will also be investigated by the delegation to determine the circumstances of his death and to find those responsible(this is complicated because there is a video of the shooting and it wasn´t military who shot him so likely this is something that was requested by authorities in Honduras since they are having difficulty finding those responsible)

The other deaths that were brought in question and possibly related to protests are verified as being investigated those deaths are Pedro Magdiel Muñoz who was killed July 25, 2009 on the Nicaraguan border and was stabbed to death.

July 30 Roger Vallejos Soriano shot in head during a protest and died on August 1.  (the present case has pointed to a security guard possibly shooting him while defending the store he guards from harm so clearly they saw no need to open investigations in all but one the first death)

Pedro Pablo Hernandez August 2 shot at a military check point when the driver tried to run a checkpoint and also tried to run over military at the check point.  This is confirmed as being investigated.

CIDH has determined that the media is polorized and that there is little middle of the road coverage that either it is pro or anti government. They also find that there have been serious attacks and threats against the media by the resistence protesters that has made the exercise of the profession very difficult.
They go into specifics pointing out bombings and moltov cocktails as well as attacks on the newspaper carrier for La Tribuna. 

The report is really long and I have spoken about some of those specific attacks here on my blog so you can read about them by scanning back between June 30 attack on Radio America all the way up to the August 15 attack on El Heraldo.

US Suspends Educatodos (educate everyone) Funds

The US embassy confirmed yesterday that they have suspended Educatodo funds. This decision affects people who are very marginal and poor in Honduras. This is a literacy program and according to the UN charter on Children´s rights the wealthier countries are OBLIGATED to assist in assuring the ability to educate the population in third world countries.  This obligation does not say anything about it can be suspended if you don´t agree with the person in control of the government.  Come on folks this is a literacy program it isn´t money given to the government it is controled through USAID and the funds are handled by them.
This program is solely about literacy, education, and assuring basic educational needs of children...so not only have the teachers of Honduras abandoned Honduran children and their rights..the US has also.  However, the US is one of only two countries that has not signed onto the UN charter for educational rights of children.  Both the wealthiest country and the poorest country in the world have failed to sign this agreement.  The wealthiest is the US ..sad to say...and the poorest is Sudan...which doesn´t surprise me.
The US Dept of State office had made a promise to the Honduran poor that any actions they took would not be against the most marginal in society yet this action has certainly only affected the poorest and most vunerable in Honduran society.  I call upon the reflection of the Department of State and ask them to make a decision as to who they are trying to punish? the poor or the government? They agreed that the sanctions on Cuba affected the poor to the point that it made it torture against the poor yet now they want to apply these measures against the poor in Honduras.