July 11, 2020

Inequality in Honduras continues to generate violence, according to expert



Inequality in Honduras continues to generate high rates of violence, Marcia Aguiluz, an international expert on human rights issues, told Efe in Tegucigalpa on Wednesday.

"We continue with a tremendously unequal country and that inequality because it is clearly generating significant rates of violence," said Aguiluz, participant in the Forum of the Board of Monitoring Compliance with Judgments against Honduras.

He added that inequality in Honduras affects historically excluded populations, such as indigenous people, Afro-descendants, women and children.

"There are problems that have been dragging along and that unfortunately do not seem to be overcome yet," said Aguiluz, a Costa Rican national.

SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IS COMPLEX

Aguiluz said that this forum is basically to "dialogue and remember some of the decisions taken by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) regarding Honduras that, unfortunately, are not fulfilled."

"We will be reflecting because several of the sentences that have been handed down, for example in the cases of environmentalists Jeannette Kawas, Carlos Luna and Carlos Escaleras -assigned between 1995 and 1997-, are sentences that have to do with the violence that lives this country against human rights defenders, "he added.

The Inter-American Court has already issued a series of measures, for example, that the State is obliged to create a public policy to protect human rights defenders, which has not been complied with, which Aguiluz described as "unfortunate."

"So, the space has that objective, we have to remember that there are already decisions, in which Honduras has been condemned by the Inter-American Court and what is the obligation of the State to comply with those decisions," he said.

In his opinion, the situation of human rights in Honduras "is complex, although it is not something new, but it has been dragging along for many years."

LACK OF POLITICAL WILL

The Central American country has been condemned 13 times by the Court, without the State having strictly complied with the rulings.

Aguiluz considers that the breach of the State has to do with the lack of political will.

It is necessary to "create a public policy, above all it has to start from a political will and that we have not observed yet. There is a mechanism that we definitely say is an advance, but the mechanism is not being enough to protect the defenders of human rights, "he stressed.

The expert considers that the fundamental thing is that it is recognized that human rights defenders contribute to the strengthening of democracy and that all people have human rights.

HONDURAS HAS A LEGAL DEBT

The director of the humanitarian organization Casa Alianza, José Guadalupe Ruelas, told Efe that of the 13 sentences that the Inter-American Court has issued to the State of Honduras, "it has only done tangible actions in two."

Honduras "always has a legal debt in the sense of reparation to the victims and guarantee the non-repetition of the facts," he added.

"Today we want to raise awareness and continue to put our finger on the line so that the State of Honduras is committed to compliance with these sentences," said Ruelas, who agreed with Marcia Aguiluz that the State "has not had political will" to comply the failures, "and less to respect human rights."

He also said that complying with the sentences would imply that the State would have to explicitly acknowledge its responsibility and also commit to having a change in behavior in the sense of respecting the human rights of women and men in Honduras.

"Honduras is a country that is plunged into a deep crisis of human rights and institutional legitimacy, so it keeps the entire population at a high level of uncertainty. There is great discontent in the country, public opinion is very unfavorable about how they handle public affairs, but there is also a great growth of the repressive mechanism of the State, "he said.

THREATS TO DEFENDERS

Felipe Gámez, on behalf of the Civic Council of Popular Organizations of Indigenous People of Honduras (Copinh), denounced in the forum that in the west of the country the persecution and death threats against human rights defenders who oppose mining and hydroelectric extractive projects that cause damage to the environment.

The threats, he added, come from the same sectors denounced by environmentalist Berta Cáceres, who was the general coordinator of Copinh, killed on March 2, 2016.

The forum addressed, among other issues, the current situation of human rights defenders, inter-American standards in the protection of human rights and obligations of the State against violations of the guarantees of Honduran citizens.

. (tagsToTranslate) Inequality (t) Honduras (t) generating (t) expert violence (t)



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