For Immediate Release:
Contact: HSN – Northern Zone
Alexy Lanza (+504) 9600-6384
Election Observers from the United States and Canada
Arrive in Honduras to Monitor Presidential Vote
One hundred sixty-six people from the United States and Canada will serve as election accompaniers and human rights observers during the upcoming national elections in Honduras. The delegation is organized by the Honduras Solidarity Network – Alliance for Global Justice and the participants come from organizations, churches, and communities throughout the U.S., Canada and El Salvador. The HSN/AGJ delegation represents the largest body of electoral observers from the US that will observe the 2013 Honduran elections.
We are here in good faith as elections accompaniers and our goal is to accompany the people of Honduras in their electoral process as they seek social justice in their country. However, we recognize that our limited presence cannot and will not guarantee a fair election. The elections are taking place at a time when international and Honduran human rights groups have expressed alarm at conditions that may prevent the possibility of fair and free elections in Honduras.
We are concerned about an atmosphere marked by violence and harassment against the political opposition, journalists, human rights defenders, small farmers and indigenous communities, as evidenced by the following facts:
- On October 15, U.S. Congressmen Grijalva, Honda and Johnson sent a letter urging Secretary of State Kerry highlighted a “pattern of concerted attacks targeting human rights defenders and the opposition.” The lawmakers urged Kerry to monitor a potential militarization of the country during the electoral process.
- According to a report by the U.S. and Canadian-based Rights Action, there have been numerous murders and attacks against political party members during the campaign thus far. Rights Action reported that the LIBRE party has been most at risk: 18 LIBRE candidates and activists have been murdered and 15 injured in armed attacks.
- A new military-police force created by the current ruling party is raiding homes of LIBRE members and supporters. New threats and assassinations are occurring weekly.
- On October 28, Honduran human rights organizations testified at the Organization of American States’ Human Rights Commission on the threats and attacks against their members.
- On November 4, Amnesty International published a letter sent to all of the presidential candidates in which Guadalupe Marengo, the Americas Deputy Programme Director, stated that “the human rights situation in Honduras is dire and the future of the country hangs in the balance.”
- There has been a publicity campaign to discredit human rights defenders in the country, both Hondurans and internationals. Various officials have made strong statements against them, making it seem as though they want to discredit the Honduran and international human rights observers in order to negatively affect their capacity to defend the rights of Honduran people.
Most of us are U.S. citizens, and we are very concerned about recent statements by U.S. Ambassador Kubiske, which imply that the U.S. national interest is against the LIBRE party or in favor of other political parties. We denounce any kind of intervention by our government – the US Government—whether in the form of statements or actions, that could interfere with a free and fair vote. We are also disturbed about the role of U.S. security aid in exacerbating the current crisis described above. By calling attention to the human rights concerns of Hondurans, we hope that they may be promptly addressed by the appropriate local and international bodies. Finally, we hope that that this election will truly reflect the aspirations of the Honduran people.