Honduras: Repression and Violence Continue
Brussels, 18 August 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC, together with TUCA, and the CUTH, CTH and CGT, its Honduran affiliates, have denounced the repression, forced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and the use of firearms suffered by those taking part in peaceful demonstrations held to protest against the coup d’état and to demand the restitution of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya.
The international trade union mission, led by the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA/ITUC) and the Global Union Federations (GUFs), which visited Honduras between 5 and 8 August, called for, among other demands, an international day of solidarity with the Honduran people on 11 August as well as supporting the initiatives of the Honduran trade union movement to promote the construction of a new socio-political environment and the formulation of policy proposals to create a new future for the country.
On 12 August, tens of thousands of Hondurans took part in the national protest march against the coup, covering over 120 kilometres. The march unfortunately met with brutal repression by the de facto government.
Several people trying to escape the police brutality during the march took refuge in the STIBYS trade union office in Tegucigalpa, which was surrounded by the police and military forces for over two hours until the international press intervened and the demonstrators managed to leave the building safely.
On the same day, after curfew, unknown assailants shot at the office of Vía Campesina of Honduras, an organisation led by campesino leader Rafael Alegría, in another clear attack against the social organisations and leaders heading the resistance against the coup d’état.
“These attacks are inadmissible. Social and trade union organisations have an important role to play in the reconstruction of this country. The reconstruction of Honduras depends on the immediate restitution of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya,” said Guy Ryder, general secretary of the ITUC.
Two crucial events are to take place in Honduras in the coming days: the visit of a mission from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and, shortly after, a mission of foreign ministers from the OAS and Secretary General Insulza, to promote the de facto government’s approval of the San José Agreement.
In a letter
(in Spanish) to the Secretary of State for Public Security the ITUC called for respect for demonstrators’ rights, for the immediate, safe return of the almost 200 people who have been “disappeared”, the restoration of constitutional order and the achievement of national reconciliation.