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News Release from the Council Analyzing Human Rights Violations in the Honduran Electoral Process

The general elections of 2013 are taking place in an atmosphere of suspicion, due to the historical experiences of “Honduras-style” electoral processes.

The council of analysis met today. Over the course of the day, we were visited by various respected figures who are part of the International Federation of Human Rights, FIDH, among them Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas and Judge Baltazar Garzon, with whom we shared some of the facts of this electoral process:

1.- The Council recognizes and values ​​the presence of more than one thousand observers and international accompaniers, distributed throughout almost all the departments of the country. Despite this contribution, some have been subjected to intimidation, persecution, and harassment, with a xenophobic slant. This has been the case in the department of Yoro, in a Jesuit Training Center; in nine hotels in Choluteca; in Francisco Morazán; in two hotels in the capital; and in Intibucá, in the community of Rio Blanco. Harassment also occurred in restaurants in Tegucigalpa where some international delegates were present, according to information that has been provided to our council.

2.- The militarization and control of the National Telecommunications Commission, CONATEL, and of media outlets which since the coup have continously published news which isn’t controlled by the groups that participated in the Coup d’etat, such as Radio Globo, GloboTV, and channel 11.

3 – The threats against, illegal detentions of, and intimidation against members of the voting tables and active members of the LIBRE (Liberty and Refoundation) Party by paramilitaries. This has been the case in the municipality of El Paraiso in the department of Copán, and also in the community of San Jeronimo, in the same department, where entry to the community was impeded. In La Union, Lempira, and Ocotepeque, attacks by armed men have also occurred. Also the attack on the members of this party, Julio Ramón Araujo Maradiaga (67) and María Amparo Pineda Duarte ( 52), in Cantarranas, Francisco Morazán, which took the lives of both. We also condemn the attacks on members of other parties, including the attack on Carlenton Dávila , mayoral candidate in Tegucigalpa for the Anticorruption Party (PAC).

4 – The buying and selling of votes and credentials by the National party, even using the Nationalist discount card “let’s work now,” has been observed in many parts of the country. In addition, there have been irregularities in the electoral registry, where people who are alive are listed as deceased, and voters have been transferred without consultation.

5 – Nationalist party activists have been used at the voting centers against some representatives of the LIBRE party. They have warned the LIBRE party members of possible attempts on their lives during or after the elections.

6.- We emphasize the mass participation of voters, despite the context described above. The Honduran population has demostrated enthusiasm, tranquility, serenity, restraint, and determination to exercise their right to vote. This indicates that the Honduran people have no interest in creating a climate of violence. We have called on the Honduran people to exercise their right to vote, and we urge that the conclusion of this process should not be marred by imprudent technological actions.

We also encourage citizens to continue lodging complaints, which we are open to receiving. Our council already has 63 cases, and will proceed to bring the violent cases to justice. We remind the people of Honduras that we are not alone, for we are being accompanied by hundreds of international defenders of human rights here in our country, who are taking note of the injustices and violations of basic rights, so that they can submit timely reports to their respective countries.

To conclude, we reaffirm our demand that human rights are respected, in particular the right to life , integrity, and freedom, rights which are systematically violated in this country.

Tegucigalpa M.D.C. November 24, 2013

The “Council Analyzing Human Rights Violations in the Honduran Electoral Process” consists of: the Union of Workers of the Beverage Industry and Similar Industries (STIBYS); the Visitation Padilla Women’s Movement for Peace; the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH); the Center for Women’s Studies – Honduras (CEM-H); and the Center for Women’s Rights (CDM).

Source: Defensores en Linea (spanish)


Armed men threaten voting table representatives in Copan

COFADEH has reported an alarming incident that occurred this morning in the municipality of El Paraiso, in the department of Copán. Some 50 people who were designated as the representatives at the voting tables were surrounded in their hotel by over 100 armed men, who threatened to burn down the hotel if they reported to the tables.

More updates to follow as a team from the Honduras Solidarity Network is on the way to investigate.

Source (in Spanish):  Defensores en Linea




ALERT: National Party activists intimidate observers from CESPAD en la Ceiba

Members of the Young Citizens’ Platform of the Study Center for Democracy – CESPAD – are denouncing verbal aggression and intimidation they have been subjected to by National Party activists, who have tried to manipulate the polling stations in places where they are conducting electoral observation.

The first complaint was made by Carlos Matute , who reported that in the Clara Barton preschool center in the city of La Ceiba , several recognized National Party activists approached the observers, saying : “Do you know where you’re standing? You don’t even know what area you’re in. I would think twice about being here .”

This statement was made to Carlos Matute, an observer from CESPAD who was officially accredited by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), who also added, “While they were saying this to us, the former candidate for the municipality of La Ceiba , who is part Miguel Pastor’s movement, of the National Party, kept his hand on my shoulder, squeezing very hard. ”

Matute said the intimidation occurred because in the morning , a complaint was made because one of the urns in this polling place contained one hundred ballots which had already been marked with their votes. The observers were quick to report what was happening, while the urns in question were confiscated. This situation greatly disturbed the accused, who then made intimidating statements towards the observers of the electoral process.

In Tegucigalpa , observers in the Mayangle neighborhood are subject to intimidation

In the Renacimiento high school, one of the voting centers located in the Mayangle neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Cintya Raquel Fiallos Palencia, one of the CESPAD observers, has denounced the constant intimidation by members of the National Party, who are in a tent distributing food to all the members of the voting table at this center.

“They are pointing at us and questioning our presence here. It is an act of intimidation, which should not happen, especially when you’re talking about making these elections transparent, ” said Fiallos , who is part of the group of unofficial observers as part of the Citizen Platform of CESPAD , and who is subject to legal restrictions as an observer, but can observe from a distance.

“Even so, they want us to leave, and to leave empty all of the perimeter. They’re even taking photos of me,” added Fiallos , who said she felt intimidated by being constantly pointed out and by the appeals that she should leave the voting center.


Observers report irregularities and a “chaotic environment” in a Tegucigalpa voting center

Election observers reported several irregularities in the Jesus Aguilar Paz Institute in the San Francisco neighborhood of Tegucigalpa this morning.

This voting center has 4 voting tables. At one of the tables, the custodian (the person who manages the table) did not arrive at the table in order to receive the ballot boxes. A high-level official ordered the military officials who were present to distribute the boxes to this table – thus the military officials assumed the role of custodian.

At another table, the military officials present stated that the ID card presented by the person who was to assume the role of president of the table did not coincide with the registry. The second representative (vocal 2) assumed the role of president. This occurred at table 8333.

Observers also reported that two people who came to vote presented ID cards of individuals who were registered as deceased. The name of  one of these individuals is on file.

Observers reported a “chaotic atmosphere” at the polling station.



Observer Notes National Party Activist Handing Money to People at Quimistan Vote Center (CORRECTED))

At approximately 9:00 AM this morning, elections monitors observed an elected Deputy from National Party handing out 100 Lempira bills to voters entering at the Boogran School, in the Quimistan sector of Santa Barbara. Sources tell the monitoring team that this individual has a history of entering voting centers during vote counts and distributing money to poll workers to influence the final count. The HSN monitoring team has the name of this individual on file, should further investigation be necessary.

Photos forthcoming.