January 23, 2012, New York – Today the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) wrote to the U.S. State Department expressing concerns that David Murillo and Silvia Mencías, plaintiffs in a case against coup leader Roberto Micheletti Baín, face serious risks of harm upon their return to Honduras. They have been staying in Argentina following death threats and frequent surveillance by police and unknown entities since the killing of their 19-year-old son by the military. The letter urges U.S. officials to take all available steps to ensure the Honduran government guarantees the safety of the Murillo family and other human rights defenders.
In the letter, Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, describes the intensifying human rights crisis in Honduras and cites letters from members of Congress over the well-documented fact that "members of the security forces are implicated in many incidents of threats, harassment, attacks and extrajudicial executions." The letter also references reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the "disproportionate use of force to quell public demonstrations against the policies of the current government; the lack of independence of the judiciary; and the situation of human rights defenders."
“It is imperative that the Embassy publicly denounce the threats and harassment already suffered by the Murillos and publicly declare to Honduran government officials the obligation to respect and protect the human right to life and personal security of David Murillo and Sylvia Mencías, specifically, and of all human rights defenders in Honduras.”
Currently, the U.S. is providing funding to Honduran police and military forces. Given Congressional concerns, a percentage of this funding was recently conditioned on the human rights situation and requires additional State Department reporting on human rights.
To read the letter in full, click this PDF link.
For more information on the Murillo’s legal case visit: http://www.ccrjustice.org/honduras-coup
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.