Attacks Continue against Honduran Rights Activists

HONDURAS-VIOLENCE-CRIME-VICTIMS

White crosses in memory of those victims of violence are seen around Tegucigalpa after being placed by members of human rights organizations, on July 9, 2014. (Photo credit: ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

It has been almost two years since Amnesty International launched its report on attacks against human rights in the Americas, Transforming Pain into Hope. Many of the cases it documented took place in Honduras, often against campesino (rural) leaders. Unfortunately, human rights abusers continue to target rural activists.

On November 11, 2014, masked gunmen murdered Juan Ángel López Miralda as he was returning home from a meeting at a local church. López Miralda had been a leader in the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguán (Movimiento unificado Campesino del Aguán, MUCA) until threats and attempts on his life forced him to flee the country in November 2013. He had recently returned home for family reasons. Please take action and tell Honduran authorities that they must investigate this crime and protect López Miralda’s family. You can also tweet to Honduran authorities:

Support independent investigation of Juan Ángel’s death, protect his family & all #humanrights defenders @MP_Honduras http://owl.li/EConJ

López Miralda’s murder follows the August 27 killing of campesino leader Margarita Murillo, who had been a founding member of the Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo, the national campesino trade union. Murillo had also been a founding member of the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), which she helped create following the 2009 coup in Honduras. Her body was found with gunshots to her head and chest, shortly after she had reported being followed and threatened.

These crimes follow a pattern that can be seen throughout the region. In its 2012 report, Amnesty noted that activists “working to defend human rights related to land, territory or natural resources make up the majority of cases of human rights defenders on which Amnesty International took action from 2010 to 2012 in the Americas.”

On December 9, Amnesty will publish a new report on the threats and attacks against human rights defenders in the Americas. Please look for it to find out how you can help protect the people who risk their own lives to protect the rights of others.

Mexico betrayed

Students

Printouts of missing College students, missing in Iguala. (Reuters)

It has been a month since the disappearance of 43 ‘normalistas’, students that train to become teachers from Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College  in the town of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero state, some 300km south of Mexico City. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

14 Facts about Torture in Mexico

Torture and other ill-treatment is out of control in Mexico. © EPA/Ulises Ruiz Basurto.

Torture and other ill-treatment is out of control in Mexico. © EPA/Ulises Ruiz Basurto.

For years Amnesty International has been investigating and recording evidence of torture in Mexico. The latest report, Out of Control: Torture and other ill-treatment in Mexico, is full of shocking facts about just how widespread and toxic the problem is. We found: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Child migrants need protection, not prison

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Pratap Chatterjee, Executive director of CorpWatch and member of Amnesty International USA Board of Directors

Since the summer of 2013, there has been an unprecedented level of unaccompanied children from Central America crossing the border into the United States.  The number of apprehended children has already surpassed 66,000 from October 2013 through August 2014. This is more than twice as many children who were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol during the same period the year before. In response to this crisis, President Obama requested that Congress provide more than $2 billion in funding to control the surge of unaccompanied children at the border and the power to expedite deportations. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

It is past time for El Salvador to rescind its total abortion ban

El Salvador: Marlene was accused and charged with having an abortion after she had a miscarriage when she was 18 years old.

El Salvador: Marlene was accused and charged with having an abortion after she had a miscarriage when she was 18 years old.

I was on a plane coming back from Mexico when I first encountered the stories of children and young women in El Salvador suffering from the country’s universal criminalization of abortion, a law that is now more than a decade old. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

The Terrifying Reason 64% of Mexicans Fear Detention

Facts and Figures infographicsBy Esmeralda Lopez, Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for Mexico My desire to end torture in Mexico runs deep. Years ago it became too dangerous for me to visit my family in Mexico because they are only hours from Ciudad Juarez, a hot spot of violence. Some officers point to incidents of violence and the high crime rate as justification for use of torture. But I know torture is not the solution. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Where is the Evidence Against These 17 Women in El Salvador?

Being able to make your own decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and motherhood is a basic human right (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

Being able to make your own decisions about sexuality, pregnancy and motherhood is a basic human right (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

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.

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

UPDATE: Detroit Pledges to Stop Water Shutoffs to Those Who Can’t Pay

Demonstrators protest against the Detroit Water and Sewer Department July 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo credit:Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Demonstrators protest against the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department July 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan (Photo credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images).

After months of residents decrying water shutoffs to customers unable to pay their bills, there is tentatively good news from Detroit!

Mayor Mike Duggan has promised a plan to help customers keep their water while the city develops payment plans and financial assistance for those who need it most. 

SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What You Need to Know About the U.S.-Mexico Border Crisis

Salvadorian immigrant Stefany Marjorie, 8, holds her doll Rodrigo while going home on July 24, 2014 in Mission, Texas. Tens of thousands of immigrant families and unaccompanied minors from Central America have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing a humanitarian crisis. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Salvadorian immigrant Stefany Marjorie, 8, holds her doll Rodrigo in Mission, Texas. Tens of thousands of immigrant families and unaccompanied minors from Central America have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing a humanitarian crisis (Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

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