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International election observers head to Honduras

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(Toronto, Ont.) – An international network of human rights organizations will be sending 180 official election observers to Honduras from November 17-27 to observe the upcoming general election, which will be taking place on November 24.

Common Frontiers Canada is coordinating the Canadian based portion of the delegation which will be composed of representatives from various labour organizations, community groups, academics and a former chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nations. The mission will travel to various parts of the country to meet with communities and groups impacted by Canadian investment in mining, maquiladoras and the mega tourism sector.

Honduras is widely viewed as the murder capital of the world, reaching a record high of 7,172 homicides in 2012 (source: United Nations).

Since 2010, there have been more than 200 politically motivated killings and Honduras is now widely regarded one of the most dangerous places for journalists. 

According to a 2013 Human Rights Watch report, Honduras has the region's highest rate of journalists killed per population. 

The leading Honduran human rights group COFADEH has documented that at least 16 activists and candidates from the main opposition party LIBRE have been assassinated since June of 2012.

The mission takes place on the heels of the Canadian government announcing the signing of the Canada-Honduras free trade agreement. Raul Burbano, delegation leader with Common Frontier's says, "It's disconcerting to see the Canadian government focus on increasing its corporate profits via trade and investment amidst a political and human rights crisis in Honduras."

Members of the U.S. Senate have expressed serious concerns over the increased repression and general atmosphere of fear in which the presidential elections will take place. Highlighting a "pattern of violence and threats against journalists, human rights defenders, members of the clergy, union leaders, opposition figures, students, small farmers, and LGBT activists."

Instead of addressing the crisis, President, Porfirio Lobo Sosa has responded by militarizing the country and deploying 1,300 troops into the streets under "operation liberty." Critics argue this has just exacerbated the problem. 

For more information: Raul Burbano Program Director, Common Frontiers: 

(416) 522 8615 or [email protected]  or in Honduras  011 504 89014511


Des observateurs internationaux en route pour les élections au Honduras 

(Toronto, Ont.) – Un réseau international d’organisations des droits de la personne délèguera 180 observateurs électoraux officiels au Honduras du 17 au 27 novembre 2013 pour observer les prochaines élections générales qui auront lieu le 24 novembre.

Common Frontiers Canada coordonne la composante canadienne de la délégation, qui comprendra des représentants de nombreuses organisations syndicales, de groupes communautaires, d’universitaires et d’un ancien chef de la Première nation algonquine d’Ardoch. La mission observation se rendra dans de nombreuses localités du pays pour rencontrer les collectivités et les groupes touchés par l’investissement canadien dans les mines, par les maquiladoras ainsi que par la grande industrie du tourisme.

Le Honduras, amplement considéré comme la capitale mondiale du meurtre, a atteint le nombre record de 7 172 homicides en 2012 (source : Nations Unies).

Depuis 2010, il y a eu plus de 200 personnes assassinées pour des motifs politiques et le Honduras est maintenant considéré comme étant un des endroits les plus dangereux pour les journalistes. Selon le rapport de Human Rights Watch pour l’année 2013, le Honduras affiche le plus haut taux d’assassinats de journalistes par rapport à sa population. 

La principale organisation de défense des droits de la personne du Honduras, COFADEH, a documenté les cas d’au moins seize militants et candidats du principal parti d’opposition, LIBRE, victimes d’homicide depuis juin 2012. 

La mission a lieu dans la foulée de l’annonce par le Canada de la signature de l’accord de libre-échange Canada-Honduras. Raul Burbano, chef de la délégation pour Common Frontiers, a affirmé qu’ “Il est déconcertant de voir que le gouvernement canadien oriente ses efforts vers la hausse des profits des sociétés grâce au commerce et à l’investissement en plein milieu d’une crise politique et des droits de la personne au Honduras“.

Des membres du Sénat des États-Unis ont exprimé de sérieuses inquiétudes relativement à l’escalade de la répression et au climat général de peur dans lesquels s'inscriront les élections présidentielles. Ils ont souligné le « schéma de violence et les menaces contre des journalistes, des défenseurs des droits de la personne, des membres du clergé, des dirigeants syndicaux, des personnalités de l’opposition, des étudiants, des petits fermiers et des militants LGBT. 

Plutôt que de résoudre la crise, le président, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, a répondu par la militarisation du pays et le déploiement de 1 300 soldats dans les rues au nom de l’ opération liberté. Les critiques en matière politique jugent que cette action n’a fait qu’exacerber le problème. 

Pour plus d’information : Raul Burbano, directeur de programme à Common Frontiers: (416) 522 8615 ou [email protected] ou Honduras  011 504 89014511

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