Honduras: The State has no legitimacy in the Human Rights Council

Open letter from more than 50 human rights organisations

Today, more than 50 national and international civil society organizations sent this letter to UN voting States, urging them to leave their ballot blank when voting for Honduras - one of the world's deadliest countries for human rights defenders - for the Human Rights Council.

October 13, 2021

The undersigned civil society organizations denounce the Honduran State's nomination for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Honduras, one of the most dangerous places in the world for human rights defenders, has no legitimacy to implement a mandate to "Promote and protect human rights worldwide". Although the Honduran State is part of a "closed slate" candidacy, we urge voting States to leave the ballot blank when it comes to Honduras, a State manifestly unqualified for the seat, as a symbolic way of denouncing the State's failure to respect the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and to cooperate fully with the Council.

For years, Honduras has been plagued by assassinations, arbitrary detentions, threats and intimidations against those who courageously defend their rights. Faced with the serious human rights situation, the IACHR has presented three reports on the country in 2009, 2015 and 2019, in which it identifies the persistence of structural problems such as poverty, inequality, corruption and impunity that disproportionately affect the most vulnerable sectors of society, due to the existence of a "selective justice" that, on the one hand, acts belatedly in relation to human rights violations, but on the other hand, acts in favor of the interests of various actors linked to public, political and business power.

On the other hand, there has been little movement on the recommendations made by the former Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, after his visit to Honduras in 2019, and the situation of vulnerability and risk faced by defenders has not diminished. On the contrary, regressive laws, including profound changes to the penal code, have served to deepen the situation of risk faced by defenders, their communities and their families.

Ahead of the Human Rights Council elections on October 14, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights held an engagement event for candidate states on September 8, 2021. During the event, we were surprised that Honduras pledged to cooperate with civil society and States from all regions, when just this year, far from respecting the will and spirit of the UN to protect and promote human rights, Honduras failed to comply with Resolution Opinion No. 85/2020 of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, concerning José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbín Nahúm Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán, Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz and Jeremías Martínez Díaz (Honduras), known as the Guapinol defenders, which urged the State to immediately release the eight water defenders who have been arbitrarily detained for more than 25 months. The Honduran State not only failed to implement the resolution but has since prolonged without cause the arbitrary detention of the defenders who were fighting to defend their community's drinking water from mining projects in Carlos Escaleras National Park.

This October 14, UN member states should not promote Honduras, but take action to stop the State from acting against its own people and their rights.


AIDEVISH, Honduras
Asociacion APUVIMEH, Honduras
ASOPAZH, Honduras
Bandera Socialista, Honduras
Bufete "Estudios para la Dignidad", Honduras
Bufete Jurídico Justicia Para Los Pueblos, Honduras
CADEHO, -Germany
Caritas. Diócesis de San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Casa Visitación, Iglesia Católica, Honduras
Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo CNTC, Honduras
Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, Honduras
Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD), Honduras
Centro de Estudios de la Mujer - Honduras, Honduras
Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Victimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT), Honduras
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America, EEUU-USA
Coalición Contra la Impunidad, Honduras
Comité de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Publicos de Tocoa, Honduras
Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras, Honduras
Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-LIBRE), Honduras
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), EEUU-USA
Consejo Indígena Lenca Reitoca, Honduras
Consejo Indígena Municipal de Santa Elena La Paz, Honduras
COPINH, Honduras
Coordinadora de Organizaciones Populares del Aguan (COPA), Honduras
Equipo Jurídico por los Derechos Humanos, Honduras
ERIC-SJ, Honduras
FIDH en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos
Foro Honduras Suiza, Suiza-Switzerland
Fundación San Alonso Rodríguez (FSAR), Honduras
Grupo Musical Son de Pueblo, Honduras
Hondurasdelegation, Germany
Iniciativa Mesoamericana de mujeres defensoras de derechos humanos, Mesoamerica
Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Program, EEUU-USA
Mesa Nacional de Incidencia para la Gestión de Rieagos MNIGR, Honduras
MEU, Honduras
Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ), Honduras
Movimiento de Diversidad en Resistencia (MDR), Honduras
Movimiento PATRIA en Acción, Honduras
OMCT en el marco del Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos, Internacional
Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia, Alemania
Organización Ayudamos Honduras (OAH), Honduras
Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH), Honduras
Plataforma Agraria, Honduras
Plataforma de solidaridad con Honduras, España-Spain
Plataforma Internacional Contra la Impunidad, Honduras-Suiza
Red Coiproden, Honduras
Red de mujeres del Progreso, Honduras
Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero, Bélgica-Belgium
Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras , Honduras
Sede Comunidad LGBTI Ofraneh, Honduras
Solidaridad con Guatemala de Austria, Austria
Trócaire, Honduras

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