Back to top
5 December 2017

Joint statement - International NGOs condemn violence against HRDs in Honduras

COPINH joins the protest to urge the Honduran government to respect democracy and human rights - December 2017.jpg

We, the undersigned regional and international organisations and networks that work to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs) in Honduras, express deep concern for the increasing political violence and repression of popular protests in the country, following the presidential elections and the declaration of the state of emergency.

This crackdwon has made the situation worse, in a context of violence and human rights violations against HRDs, organisations and communities that defend human rights – which have been the object of many recommendations and statements from international organisations.  

Killings, threats, criminalisation, violation of the right to the previous and informed consent of indigenous people, among other forms of attacks, have been shrinking the space for HRDs and communities who speak out against human rights violations, and they have weakened the democratic institutions.

As reported by UN experts and the Inter-American Court, Honduras has become one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders. For this reason in June the UN General Secretary for Human Rights urged the Honduran government to strengthen its protection mechanisms for human rights defenders, and to open spaces for civil society's dialogue and participation.

However, when the Honduran people have expressed their legitimate concerns for the irregularities of the current electoral process, the Honduran government's response has been violent. It has criminalised the protests and declared the state of emergency, denying fundamental rights.

Several human rights and media organisations in Honduras have documented the state agents' excessive and disproportionate use of force against the protesters, arbitrary detentions, and other repressive measures that killed and wounded many people, yet to be counted. These human rights violations are particularly risky for marginalised and discriminated communities or groups, including women and indigenous people.

We, the undersigned organisations, urge the Honduran government to:

1) Immediately suspend the state of emergency declared on 1 December 2017, and guarantee the right to protest and to freedom of expression in Honduras.

2) Investigate all human rights violations committed against protesters, organisations and communities during the protests for the irregularities of the electoral process.

3) Respect the popular will expressed through the vote, address the calls of the organisations and social movements that are demonstrating, and respond to the recommendations made public on December 3 by the OAS Mission and on December 4 by the European Union Electoral Observation Mission, which have recommended to recount the votes and review the documents, with complete transparency. In accordance to the law, the government should also address any formal complaint about the irregularities of the electoral process, before the TSE issues an official statement on the final result of the election.

We also call the Organisation of American States, the UNHRC, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and all the other international institutions to make a strong statement and activate all the necessary measures to urge the Honduran state to respect human rights.


1. Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)

2. Colectivo ANSUR

3. Diakonia 

4. Entrepueblos

5. Front Line Defenders

6.  Fondo de Acción Urgente

7. Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos FIDH

8. Global Witness

9.  Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensoras

10. JASS –Asociadas por lo Justo-

11. SWE FOR. Movimiento Sueco por la Reconciliación

12. Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura (OMCT)

13. Protección Internacional