Support Honduras' People's Demands for a UN-backed Commission Against Impunity and Corruption, to Strengthen Their Democracy
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In the last few weeks Honduras' people have been taking to the streets in the biggest popular demonstrations since 2009's military coup. The “Antorchas” – also known as “Indignados” – movement is demanding an end to the corruption rife in the country. Honduran journalists have revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars were embezzled from the Honduran Health System, and supported the election campaign of president Juan Orlando Hernández's National Party. At least 3,000 have died and many more are suffering from lack of health care as a result. It is known that this is only one part of the corruption and theft of state money within the country. The movement has brought together all sectors of the population to demand the president's resignation, and demand an independent International Commission against Impunity in Honduras (“CICIH” in its Spanish initials) to root out all the country's corruption.
The CICIH would be based on the unique “CICIG” in Guatemala – a UN-backed project initiated in 2007 to investigate and bring to justice similar corruption in that country. Recently the CICIG has made international headlines with the resignation of Guatemala's ex Vice-President, amid ongoing protests in the country. The realisation of a Honduran CICIH requires international support. Please add your voice to this petition demanding that the UK government and the UN puts pressure on Juan Orlando's government, to make the CICIH a reality.
This mass popular movement expresses the true democratic and peaceful will of the Honduran people, and will strengthen democracy in the country. Honduras' democracy has been under threat since the 2009 military coup, which put the National Party in power. The elections that have been held since have been full of marked irregularities, and denounced by international observers. The country's state, police and judicial system has collapsed under the weight of corruption, and the government has responded by militarising the country, repressing civil society organisations within it. As a result the country has become known as the “Murder, Repression and Corruption Capital of Latin America”.
Despite this, the government has proven friendly to international business interests, and the USA, Canada and European countries have provided increasing economic and military support to the government. The Honduran people are not advantaging from this support – the support is only propping up their corrupt and repressive government while it steals from state institutions. Now that the people are finding their voice, it is the Western powers' responsibility to recognise this, and stop supporting the corrupt National Party and Juan Orlando's government. Demand that the UK government ceases economic and military relationships with the government of Juan Orlando Hernández and the National Party, in recognition of the impact this support has in such a repressive and corrupt country as Honduras.
On Friday 26th June 2015 the Antorchas/ Indignados movement staged the largest demonstration seen in the capital, Tegucigalpa, since 2009, with estimates of up to 400,000 people present. They have been staging mass demonstrations every Friday in the capital for the last month, which have steadily drawn more people. Similar demonstrations are being held in other cities around the country. The Tegucigalpa demonstrations have become centred around a hunger strike near the Presidential House. The strike started on Monday 22nd June 2015 with 3 individuals – Ariel Varela, Miguel Briceño and Luis Banegas. A week later on the 28th these 3 were still continuing the strike, and have been joined by further strikers, despite assaults from members of the police and military. They are demanding the resignation of Juan Orlando, and for the establishment of a Honduran CICIH. This is both a national call for the Honduran government to recognise their demands, and an international call for UN member-states to push for this process.
The lives of the Honduran Hunger Strikers, the realisation of an end to corruption and repression, and the awakening of true democracy in Honduras, rely on our action now, in this moment.
Please add your voice to these calls for a UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Honduras (CICIH), and for an end to international support for the corrupt and repressive government of Juan Orlando Hernández's National Party.
English language articles on the Honduran protests:
- 7th July - ENCA blog article: UN fact-finding mission arrives in Honduras
- 4th July - Guardian article: Honduras protesters stage biggest march yet to demand president resign
- 1st July - Two Worlds Latin America blog article: Ten Days in Honduras
- 28th June - Telesur opinion piece: Disaster Capitalism and Outrage in Post Coup Honduras
- 28th June - ENCA blog: The petition here is based on this article: The Largest Antorchas March Against Corruption so far, and the Struggle Continues
- 28th June - Al Jazeera article: The Honduran meltdown: Made in USA
- 26th June - PROAH Project Accompaniment Honduras: Human rights organisations respond to hunger strike
- 10th June - Guardian piece: How hitmen and high living lifted lid on looting of Honduran healthcare system
- 1st June - Al Jazeera opinion piece: US underwrites corruption and violence in Honduras
- 1st June - AP piece in the Guardian: Protesters across Honduras take on alleged social security embezzlement
- 12th May - Al Jazeera article: Honduras’ latest constitutional coup, rewriting its constitution to allow Juan Orlando to serve another term as president
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