About Larry Ladutke

Larry Ladutke is the Country Specialist for El Salvador and a Co-Chair of the Central America Co-Group. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center by writing a dissertation on the impact of human rights advocacy in postwar El Salvador. He also serves as Amnesty International's Legislative Coordinator for New Jersey.
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Honduran Government Moves to Silence Indigenous Activists

'Thank you for your solidarity' from the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) (Photo Credit: COPINH).

‘Thank you for your solidarity’ from the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) (Photo Credit: COPINH).

Last week, Amnesty issued an urgent action ahead of the September 12 hearing in Honduras against three indigenous leaders working on environmental issues: Bertha Cáceres, Tomás Gómez and Aureliano Molina.

They are all members of the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). Cáceres is the general coordinator of COPINH, and both Gómez and Molina work at a community radio station, Lencas’ Voice (La Voz Lenca). Amnesty has called the government’s charges of usurpation, coercion and continued damages against these Human Rights Defenders (HRDs)“unfounded.” These accusations are connected to COPINH’s opposition to a hydro-electric project on indigenous land.

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Help Beatriz with One More Request: Stand Up for Other Women & Girls

Beatriz ThanksAs you know, activism inside El Salvador (led by the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) and around the globe helped save Beatriz, the young Salvadoran mother whose life was jeopardized by the absolute ban on abortion in El Salvador.

We would like to share a note that Beatriz wrote to express her gratitude to all those who took part in this effort:

To my friends from the Colectivo Feminista and everywhere else:

I want to thank you for having supported me all the way, and without you I think I wouldn’t have been able to stand being in the hospital.

I also want to thank you for all the actions you took for my life.

This situation has been very difficult and without your support I wouldn’t have been able to get through it.

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Where is Honduran Journalist Anibal Barrow?

Honduran journalist Anibal Barrow (right) speaks with Honduran Presidential candidate for the Liberal Party, Mauricio Villeda, during an interview in San Pedro Sula (Photo Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images).

Honduran journalist Anibal Barrow (right) speaks with Honduran Presidential candidate for the Liberal Party, Mauricio Villeda, during an interview in San Pedro Sula (Photo Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images).

Anibal Barrow, a Honduran journalist for TV Globo, was last seen on Monday, June 24, when three armed men stopped the vehicle he was riding in with family members. The assailants released his relatives, but commandeered the car and took Barrow with them.

That was the last that Barrow’s family saw of him. They reported the abduction to the authorities, but have not received any ransom demands. All they have heard is that the car was later found with bullet holes and traces of blood. There was no sign of Anibal Barrow, however.

The lack of ransom demands, as well the gunmen’s lack of interested in the other passengers, adds to fears that Barrow was attacked because of his journalistic activities. Amnesty International reports that Barrow had recently interviewed three candidates in the nation’s upcoming elections, including a union leader, about the 4th anniversary of the 2009 coup. CNBC has reported that Anibal Barrow’s son is also running in the elections.

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Update in the Struggle to #SaveBeatriz!

Members of Amnesty International protest in front of the El Salvador embassy in Mexico City, on May 29, 2013 (Photo Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images).

Members of Amnesty International protest in front of the El Salvador embassy in Mexico City, on May 29, 2013 (Photo Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images).

In collaboration with Lyric Thompson, member of Amnesty International USA’s Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group

On Wednesday, the Salvadoran Supreme Court of Justice issued a shameful decision in the case of Beatriz, the young Salvadoran mother we wrote about earlier. She is currently in a high risk pregnancy and suffers from lupus and related health problems. Her doctors have recommended an abortion to save her life, yet the Salvadoran government refuses to give her access to the medical treatment that she needs.

In response to this violation of her human rights, nearly 200,000 Amnesty activists from over 20 countries have called on the Salvadoran government to #SaveBeatriz.

As part of this campaign to save Beatriz, we were shocked by yesterday’s ruling by the Salvadoran Supreme Court that Beatriz’s doctors cannot proceed with the abortion they say is necessary to save her life. This decision compounds the suffering already caused by the lengthy and unnecessary delays that the Court created prior to issuing this ruling, taking over a month and a half after Beatriz’s lawyers first filed the request for protection (amparo) on April 11.

The Court itself recognized Beatriz is now entering a very risky stage with regards to her health. And yet, the Court’s decision will continue to subject Beatriz to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by denying her the medical intervention she so urgently needs while her health continues to deteriorate.

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Success without Victory: Taking the Long View on Justice in Guatemala

Former military leader Efrain Rios Montt's conviction for genocide and crimes against humanity has been overturned, but there is reason to hope (Photo Credit: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images).

Former military leader Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction for genocide and crimes against humanity has been overturned, but there is reason to hope (Photo Credit: Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images).

Update: This post was updated on May 23, 2013 to provide more context for the significance of the overturned conviction of Rios Montt.

Amnesty International joined human rights organizations from Guatemala and all around the world in applauding former Guatemalan Dictator Rios Montt’s historic conviction on charges of genocide on May 10. The trial established his responsibility as intellectual author for the murder of 1,771 Ixil indigenous people and the forced displacement of tens of thousands from the Ixil triangle region of southern Quiché Department.

It took over thirty years to bring Rios Montt to justice. The trial faced numerous delays and obstacles, including many procedural appeals and challenges by the defense and a ten day suspension of the trial in April during which an annulment of the proceedings by a lower court was resolved.

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What Would You Tell a Victim of Domestic Violence?

Women, girls, men and boys take to the streets in Nicaragua on the Day for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean (Photo Credit: Grace Gonzalez for Amnesty International).

Women, girls, men and boys take to the streets in Nicaragua on the Day for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean (Photo Credit: Grace Gonzalez for Amnesty International).

What if she was your mother, your sister, or your friend?  Would you tell her to press charges? Or would you tell her she should work things out with her husband in order to keep the family (including any children) together? In other words, would you want her to be safe, or remain in danger of further abuse and even death?  I hope you would tell her to get out of there and call the police.

In Nicaragua, however, pressing charges may no longer be an option. Last year, Nicaragua passed Law 779, the Integral Law against Violence Against Women. One of its key provisions is that it does not allow mediation to replace criminal punishment of abusers. Tracy Robinson, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Rapporteur for Women’s Rights, called the law “an important step forward.”

Now, Amnesty International is warning that opponents of Law 779 may overturn this key provision on the ground that it “breaks up families” - as if growing up in a climate of violence is good for children. They want to allow mediation as an alternative to punishment in cases involving less than five years of jail time. Doing so will only contribute to a climate of impunity that tells abusive partners that their behavior is acceptable.

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