On September 21st, President Manuel Zelaya returned clandestinely to Honduras and took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. Honduran police fired tear gas to disperse Zelaya's supporters gathered around the embassy. They also launched tear gas at the human rights group COFADEH, where men, women, and children had taken refuge after the attack at the embassy. People detained for violating a newly established curfew are being held at the football stadium, where observers saw people who had been severely beaten. The situation in the capital and elsewhere is extremely tense.
The Latin America Working Group joins the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights in calling on "the de facto government of Honduras, and in particular the State security forces, to respect public demonstrations and the right to freedom of expression of all persons." We join other LAWG partners in calling for our government to unequivocally urge the de-facto government and security forces to refrain from violating human rights and freedom of expression. We appreciate the State Department's renewed call for dialogue and for respect for the Brazilian embassy. We urge all sides to negotiate a return to constitutional order: the time is now.
Some sources of information in this rapidly developing situation:
- Honduran blog by the Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
- Website by anti-coup movement in Honduras
- "May I Speak Freely" news service
- Quixote Center, which has been sending accompaniment delegations to Honduras
Lisa Haugaard is the executive director for the Latin America Working Group.