Friday, August 21, 2009

Speak out on Honduras

Over 90 Experts Call on Human Rights Watch to Speak Out on Honduras Abuses
WASHINGTON - August 21 - 93 scholars and Latin America experts from institutions such as Yale, Harvard, and New York University sent an open letter to Human Rights Watch today urging the organization to highlight various human rights violations in Honduras under the coup regime, and to conduct its own investigation. The signers, who include well-known experts on Latin America such as Eric Hershberg, John Womack, Jr., and Greg Grandin, Honduras experts such as Dana Frank and Adrienne Pine, and well-known authors including Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and Naomi Klein, note that Human Rights Watch could help force the Obama administration to denounce the abuses and put greater pressure on the regime. Highlighting "politically-motivated killings, hundreds of arbitrary detentions, the violent repression of unarmed demonstrators, mass arrests of political opposition, and other violations of basic human rights," the letter notes that Human Rights Watch has not issued a statement or release on the situation in Honduras since July 8, a little over a week following the June 28 coup d'etat.

The signers write, "...the coup could easily be overturned, if the Obama administration sought to do so, by taking more decisive measures, such as canceling all U.S. visas and freezing U.S. bank accounts of leaders of the coup regime."

The letter comes just a day after Amnesty International issued a new report on the coup regime's violations of human rights in cracking down on protests, and as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (part of the Organization of American States) wraps up a fact-finding delegation to Honduras. The author of the Amnesty International report, Esther Major, has stated

that the report was released to call on the international community to take action to "prevent a human rights crisis occurring in Honduras."

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