Honduran human rights defenders and social activists are facing “unprecedented risk" in the execution of their duties due to impunity and collusion between powerful interests in the country.
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According to Michael Frost, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders: “Impunity, the lack of participation, and collusion between powerful interests have become the deadly ingredients that make Honduras a dangerous place for human rights defenders."
Frost made the comments after visiting ten cities in the country and holding meetings with over 400 human rights activists.
Frost said little had been accomplished to improve the since his last visit in 2012.
“What’s worse, environmentalists and Indigenous activists face greater risks… due to the threats of those who act to obtain political benefits and the companies that seek profit,” he explained.
The Rapporteur called on the Honduran government to establish mechanisms to protect activist, such as protocols to investigate crimes against them and human rights violations.
During his visit, Frost met with president Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was re-elected in November 2017 despite widespread concerns over electoral fraud.
During the meeting, Frost urged the president to “protect the citizens (who) promote the values and principles of the Declaration of Human Rights.”
In 2016, Hernandez’s 3rd year in office, Honduras recorded the highest number of killings of environmental and land rights activists, most of whom were killed by state security forces or domestic corporations that back Hernandez.
An independent commission concluded that the Honduran military under Hernandez and Energy Development SA, known as DESA, carried out the 2016 assassination of environmentalist Berta Caceres.