WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
30 Jun 2009 | News

WOLA Expresses Concern over the Situation of Human Rights in Honduras and Calls for Suspension of US Aid

The Washington Office on Latin America is increasingly concerned for the security of social and political activists and human right defenders in Honduras. WOLA has been in close contact with counterparts in Honduras and has received reports of people being injured, illegally detained and transferred to military bases, and of people whose whereabouts are unknown. We have also been told that some social leaders, fearing arrest, are in hiding. 

In light of this situation and what is clearly a coup d’Etat, the U.S. should support multilateral efforts to return President José Manuel Zelaya to the country and suspend U.S. aid to Honduras. This would convey a strong message of support for democracy in that country. 

“What happened in Honduras was clearly a coup, President Zelaya was removed from the country by the military, and U.S. law is very clear on this: when there’s a military coup, U.S. aid must be suspended,” said Joy Olson, WOLA’s Executive Director, who lived in Honduras for a number of years.

In addition, the U.S. should continue to support a multi-lateral effort, spearheaded by the Organization of American States (OAS), to resolve the political crisis in Honduras. President Zelaya has announced his return to the country this Thursday. 

"As Zelaya returns to Honduras,” said Olson, “the OAS, with the support of the U.S. and other countries in Latin America, should lead discussions for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.” 

WOLA will participate as an observer in the OAS meeting today and plans to send an update after the meeting. 

WOLA strongly commends the efforts of the OAS and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to restore the democratic order in Honduras and to respect human rights, the rule of law and the Inter-American Democratic Charter. 

Joy Olson, Executive Director, [email protected], 202-723-3413 (cell)
Vicki Gass, Senior Associate for Rights and Development, [email protected],  202-526-7226 (cell)