Honduras
Head of state and government
Porfirio Lobo Sosa
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
Population
7.8 million
Life expectancy
73.1 years
Under-5 mortality
29.7 per 1,000
Adult literacy
83.6 per cent

Several people were killed in ongoing land disputes in the Aguan region. Forced evictions left hundreds of campesino (peasant farmer) families homeless. Impunity persisted for human rights violations by the military and police, including those committed during the 2009 coup d’état. Human rights defenders continued to be subjected to intimidation.

Background

In January, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated it was “deeply concerned about threats, serious acts of violence against and killings of members of the transgender community”.

In November, 28 Honduran mothers, whose children had gone missing in Mexico while travelling to the USA, went to Mexico to urge the authorities to establish an official search mechanism to help trace their loved ones and to enhance the protection of the tens of thousands of Central American migrants who travel through Mexico each year (see Mexico entry).

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Impunity – consequences of the coup d’état

In April, the government established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to analyse the events leading up to and during the coup d’état. In its report issued in July, the Commission acknowledged that the events of 2009 did constitute a coup d’état and that multiple human rights violations occurred, including acts of excessive use of force by the military and police. By the end of the year, no one had been brought to justice or held to account for these human rights violations.

In June, Honduras was readmitted to the OAS; it had been expelled following the 2009 coup d’état.

Members of the judiciary who were dismissed in unfair proceedings under the de facto government had not been returned to their posts by the end of the year.

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Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders were threatened and harassed as they carried out their work.

  • In January and June, Alex David Sánchez Álvarez was threatened and physically attacked by unidentified individuals in connection with his work for the Colectivo Violeta, which works for the protection of the rights of members of the LGBT community, and his work with the Centre for the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and their Families. Both incidents were reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, but those responsible had not been brought to justice by the end of the year.
  • By the end of 2011, no one had been brought to justice for the killing in 2009 of LGBT human rights activist Walter Trochez.
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Sexual and reproductive rights

A decree concerning contraception that had been issued in 2009 by the de facto authorities remained in place. This criminalized the use of emergency contraception by women and girls whose contraceptive method had failed or who were at risk of pregnancy resulting from sexual coercion.

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Land disputes and forced evictions

Military personnel and large numbers of police were deployed in the Aguan region, where disputes over land ownership between hundreds of campesinos and various companies and private landowners erupted into violence.

Also in this context, forced evictions occurred throughout the year in the Aguan region, and little effort was made to resolve the problem. Agreements drawn up between the government and campesino organizations were not implemented, leaving thousands of campesino families homeless or at constant risk of eviction.

  • In June, police forcibly evicted a community in the town of Rigores, in Colón department. The eviction order was issued in May, but the community was not informed or given any prior warning of the eviction. Families, some of whom had lived on the land for many years, were given just two hours to pack up their belongings and leave their homes. During the eviction, houses belonging to community members, as well as seven classrooms that formed part of the local school and kindergarten, and two churches were destroyed. Some 493 people were made homeless. Nobody was offered alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, either in advance of the eviction or after it had happened. Nor was anyone guaranteed safe access to tend their crops, many of which were destroyed during the eviction.
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Abuses by police

There were further allegations of human rights abuses by police.

  • In October, two university students were found shot dead in Tegucigalpa, the capital. Four police officers were charged with the killings, which they had reportedly carried out while on duty patrolling the city. Reports indicated that up to eight police officers may have been involved. Following public outrage at the killings of the two students, the government established a cross-party committee of members of Congress and representatives from the Executive to review public security policies.
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