Sunday, September 28, Amnesty International is taking part in the International Day to Decriminalize Abortion. The importance of access to safe, legal abortion is clearly demonstrated in Amnesty’s new report, On the Brink of Death: Violence Against Women and the Abortion Ban in El Salvador. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Imagine waking up in a hospital and learning that you are under arrest, accused of killing your own infant.
Despite your efforts to explain that you had a miscarriage and passed out from medical complications, the authorities sentence you to up to four decades in an overcrowded prison where you “suffer harassment, exclusion, and violence both from other inmates as well as prison personnel” because of the accusations against you.
Amnesty International welcomes the positive step of President Obama’s recent meeting with his counterparts from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala regarding the increasing number of children fleeing violence in those countries – with or without their parents.
It is extremely troubling, however, that President Obama continues to assert that his government will return the overwhelming majority of these children to the extreme violence that has driven them to make the dangerous journey to the United States. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
President Obama has responded to the recent surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border with a $1 million ad campaign aimed at Central Americans.
The U.S. government wants to send two main messages – the journey to the U.S. is extremely dangerous, and those caught, including children, will be deported.
“We are…troubled by news reports that the police had announced the murder was carried out by someone close to Sr. Mejia Orellana before any investigation had yet begun.”
–Statement by U.S. Representatives James McGovern (MA), Sam Farr (CA), and Janice Schakowsky (IL)
On April 11, unidentified assailants stabbed Carlos Mejía to death in his home in Yoro, Honduras. Mejía was the marketing director of Radio Progreso and a member of the Reflection, Investigation and Communication Team (Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación, ERIC). Both Radio Progeso and ERIC are Jesuit organizations known for their work defending human rights in Honduras.
The first step to ending impunity is a thorough investigation that correctly identifies the culprits so that they can be tried and punished. Why, then, did Honduran police announce that they had decided to pursue a narrow investigation focusing on “someone close to Sr. Mejia?”
Back in December, Amnesty activists responded to an Urgent Action on the murder of Honduran journalist Juan Carlos Argeña. Not only has there not been any progress in this case, Amnesty has had to issue a new Urgent Action on behalf of Mario Argeñal, Juan Carlos’ brother.
Unidentified men have threatened and intimidated Mario in response to his public statements about the killing of his brother and his calls for justice in the case.
Ian Lekus of Amnesty USA’s LGBT Human Rights Cogroup contributed to this post.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has been called “the most dangerous city in the world.” For sex workers in the city, the risk of violence is multiplied many times over.
Despite the fact that sex work is legal in Honduras, many groups and individuals view their actions as immoral. Those who murder sex workers believe they can literally treat these human beings as garbage to be disposed of. Such violence takes place against the broader backdrop of widespread gender- and sexuality-based violence that imperils women and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) persons all through Honduras.
“This killing is not just a crime against a an individual but also against the society as a whole. Every country should enjoy a free press in which journalists and media owners are allowed to exercise independence in collecting and reporting news without fearing for violent reprisals.”
– Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Last month, I posted a blog entry asking if the November 25 elections in Honduras would be a victory for human rights. Unfortunately, my question was violently answered on December 7, when two unidentified gunmen murdered journalist Juan Carlos Argeñal. In addition to owning a local television station, Argeñal was a correspondent for Radio Globo and Globo TV.
“The human rights situation in Honduras seems to deteriorate every day. It looks like no one is safe from the widespread violence and insecurity. Those defending human rights are particularly exposed to abuses and attacks.”
-Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Americas Deputy Program Director.
On Sunday, November 24, Hondurans will vote for their next president. Amnesty International recognizes this as an historic opportunity to improve human rights in the Central American nation. AI has sent an open letter to all of the candidates outlining specific actions that the next president must take in the areas of
- Human Rights Defenders
- Public Security
- Individuals & Communities at Risk (Indigenous, Garífuna, Campesinos, Women, & LGBTI)
Amnesty is very concerned about the safety of human rights defenders and journalists during and immediately after the elections. Please send a message to President Lobo that he must guarantee the protection of these individuals before, during, and after Sunday’s elections. We suggest you also send President the following tweets in English and Spanish:
- .@PEPE_LOBO Will you publicly commit to zero tolerance of attacks against #humanrights defenders & journalists during #Honduras elections?
- .@PEPE_LOBO ¿Se comprometerá a cero tolerancia de ataques contra periodistas y defensoras/es de #DDHH durante #EleccionesHonduras?
Please also tweet the presidential candidates to tell them to protect human rights:
- .@andrespavon_ @VilledaMauricio Will you commit to protect #humanrights defenders & journalists? #EleccionesHonduras
- .@JuanOrlandoH @XiomaraCastroZ Will you commit to protect #humanrights defenders & journalists? #EleccionesHonduras
- .@SalvadorNasrala @RomeoVasquezV @OrleSols @Pinusd_HN Will you commit to protect #humanrights defenders and journalists? #EleccionesHonduras
The recent attack on the human rights defenders (HRDs) of Pro-Búsqueda brings back painful memories of wartime abuses in El Salvador.
November 16 marked the 24th anniversary of the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper, and her teenage daughter at the Central American University (UCA) in 1989. This brutal attack shocked the world, creating pressure for the Salvadoran government to finally negotiate an end to the war.
Just two days before this anniversary, however, Salvadorans were given a horrible reminder of the type of wartime atrocities that they had hoped were behind them.