Amnesty International’s new report, Home Sweet Home? Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador’s Role in a Deepening Refugee Crisis, documents the incredible levels of violence and impunity that are driving tens of thousands of people from these countries (known as the Northern Triangle of Central America) to flee their homes and seek asylum in the United States and Mexico.
It also investigates what happens to those Central Americans who are sent back to their countries of origin—often without receiving a fair hearing regarding the threats to their lives. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find this information: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
People attend the funeral of murdered indigenous activist Berta Caceres, in La Esperanza, 200 km northwest of Tegucigalpa, on March 5, 2016. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Many people have heard of the March 2016 murder of Berta Cáceres, an award-winning environmental and indigenous rights leader in Honduras, and the many threats that proceeded her death. They may not know, however, that the Honduran authorities had falsely charged Cáceres with inciting usurpation of land, coercion, and damages against the company building the hydo-electric damn opposed by her organization, the Civic Council of the Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in 2013. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Rosario Godoy de Cuevas speaks into a megaphone at a demonstration at a GAM in Guatemala, 1985. Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM; Mutual Support Group) support group for families whose relatives had “disappeared”.
Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action in response to the June 21 raid of Impunity Watch’s office in Guatemala. Three armed men forced their way into the office and then blindfolded the organization’s secretary and covered her mouth with duct tape before ransacking the files.
The Dutch NGO has been assisting the family of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen, the victim of an enforced disappearance in 1981. It’s offices were raided two days before the scheduled start of a trial against four high-ranking retired military officers for this crime. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
First portraits of Maria Teresa Rivera free. She spent 4 years in prison before a court dropped the charges against her on 20 May 2016. María Teresa was one of “Las 17” group of women in prison out of suspicion of having had an abortion.
Maria Teresa Rivera’s recent release from prison was a major victory for women’s rights in El Salvador. Nonetheless, the nation’s Attorney General has said he intends to appeal the decision overturning her conviction. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“Isabel and “Ruth” (not their real name) are the mother in law and neighbor of María Teresa Rivera, one of “Las 17” women who are imprisoned in El Salvador with charges of “aggravated homicides” under the suspicion of having had an abortion.
“Today, we celebrate Teresa’s freedom, her joy, and her tears upon reuniting with her ten-year-old son. This is the result of the actions in solidarity taken by thousands of people and various organizations in El Salvador and other countries.”
–The Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion in El Salvador
On Friday, May 20, a Salvadoran Court held a resentencing hearing for Maria Teresa Rivera, a woman who was serving a 40-year prison term for allegedly killing her newborn child. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
“Defending human rights in Honduras is a crime. They are criminalizing the right to our [indigenous] identity and sense of self.”
-Berta Cáceres, 2013
Gunmen brutally murdered Berta Cáceres, award-winning leader of the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), in La Esperanza, Honduras on March 3, 2016. Almost immediately, the Honduran authorities jumped to the conclusion that she must have been killed in a robbery.
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Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, one of 12 cases in Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign this fall, has been in prison since 2008 because she suffered a still-birth.
Teodora still has 23 more years to serve out of a 30-year prison sentence, which is supported by El Salvador’s draconian abortion law. El Salvador has a total ban on abortion, meaning that abortion is illegal even if a woman’s or girl’s life or health is at risk, if the fetus is not viable, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
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Following a wave of violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly has passed a law establishing increased penalties for hate crimes. Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Director for the Americas, emphasized that this law “should be a catalyst for a series of concrete measures to stop the alarming and growing wave of attacks against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transexual community, who suffer grave threats and abuses on a daily basis.”
Some recent examples of violence against the LGBT community include: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
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. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Victims of abuses in Honduras rely upon the work of human rights defenders in their country for help. But what happens when the defenders themselves become the target of threats and violence?
Amnesty International’s recent report, Defending Human Rights in the Americas: Necessary, Legitimate and Dangerous, features several examples of abuses directed against human rights defenders in Honduras: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Honduran journalists take part in a vigil in memory of journalists killed in Honduras. (ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/GettyImages)
On January 24, a high-ranking military official told Honduran journalist César Omar Silva Rosales that he would be found “in a ditch, gagged and with yellow legs” if he continued to produce unfavorable coverage of the military. Even more shocking, the official made this threat directly to the journalist’s face as he was trying to cover a congressional session on military policy. Amnesty International has issued an urgent action in this case. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST