Honduras: Side Event HRC34: Human Rights Defenders in HONDURAS: A year after Berta Cáceres was assassinated, are they better protected?
Languages: Interpretation into English and
Spanish will be provided
The predicament of human
rights defenders in Honduras has received a great deal of international
attention in 2016, following the murder of Berta Cáceres, an emblematic Lenca
indigenous defender. This crime is just the tip of the iceberg; the high levels
of violence directed against defenders in Honduras have made it one of the most
dangerous countries in the world for human rights defence as declared in August
2016 by Mr. Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights
Defenders, and Mr. José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, IACHR’s Rapporteur on the Situation
of Human Rights Defenders.
Since 2001, 17 defenders
have been murdered, although they were beneficiaries of IACHR precautionary
measures - an average of one per year. Between May 2015 and December 2016 at
least 16 killings of human rights defenders - almost one per month. These
figures clearly demonstrate that the situation is becoming more acute.
Attacks against defenders
tend to go unpunished, largely due to inefficiencies in the administration of
justice as well as a number of other structural factors. Meanwhile, there have
been a great many incidences of defenders being criminalised, and the judicial
system has shown remarkable diligence in pursuing these cases. According to
IACHR, since 2010 there have been 3,064 cases in Honduras where human rights
defenders have been criminalised as a means of intimidation. Many of these cases were preceded by public
stigmatization of those who defended and promoted human rights, when members of
economic or political power where involved or potentially affected.
One year after the
assassination of Berta Cáceres and in the current pre-electoral context the
side event will provide an important ingress to engage in a dialogue about the
current situation for human rights defenders in Honduras and on how national
authorities and international community can collaborate to address the remaining
challenges for their comprehensive protection and for an enabling environment
for their work.
The event will include an
interactive panel discussion with various interventions from each of the
speakers followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.