14 hours ago
From the Leadership of Women Religious in US regarding the current situation and an action alert:
Current Situation in Honduras Calls for Urgent Action
Honduras is at a critical juncture, as protests are intensifying throughout the country. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets over the last month protesting the government’s efforts to privatize health care and education, and calls are escalating for Juan Orlando Hernández to step down, given the corruption, electoral fraud, drug trafficking allegations against him, and more. The government’s security forces have responded to the protests with tear gas and lethal force. Tear gas was lobbed at the office of the Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) during the national strike of health care workers and teachers; and journalists and human rights defenders have been particularly targeted for attack.
On June 1st, Amnesty International denounced the widespread repression by state security forces, joining a chorus of Honduran human rights organizations speaking out against the brutality. On June 6th, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference also issued a surprisingly strong statement denouncing the violence, corruption, impunity and grave deficiencies in the health and education systems of the country.
While Honduras is engulfed in these protests, communities and social movement activists remain extremely vulnerable to being attacked by government security forces. Human rights defenders and journalists, including our colleagues at Radio Progreso, also face repercussions daily for speaking out.
Expressions that the international community is watching offer a layer of protection. Calls to cut US military and police aid would offer an even stronger message.
If you have a good relationship with a Congressional office, and he/she is sympathetic to human rights concerns in Honduras, call the foreign policy aide and ask if the Member would:
immediately call the State Department and urge that the U.S. Embassy in Honduras speak out against the repression of protestors by state security forces (Congressional Switchboard is (202) 224-3121) and/or
Tweet the same concern that human rights be respected.
If your Member in the House of Representatives has not yet co-sponsored the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (see list here), please ask them to do so. The Act calls for suspension of all U.S. security aid to Honduras. Regardless of whether the bill passes in Congress, an increasing number of co-sponsors will get in the Honduran media and register a strong message. The bill has been introduced in two previous sessions of Congress, and this year (2019), its number is HR 1945. Congressional Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. When you call your Representative's office, ask to speak to the foreign policy aide. Use the script below in speaking with the aide.
Script: "My name is _____. I am a constituent from (your town/city) and have been to Honduras. I am calling to ask Rep. _____ to co-sponsor H.R. 1945, The Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act calling for a suspension of U.S. security aid to Honduras until human rights violations committed by the Honduran security forces cease. Has Rep. _______ seen this bill? Can I count on him/her to sign on? Please call me this week at (your phone number) to let me know if Rep. _____ will sign it."
To co-sponsor the bill, or if the staffer wishes an official copy of the bill, they must contact Chelsea Grey (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Rep. Johnson's (GA) office, who is the lead on the bill.
Tweet the US Embassy in Honduras’ Charge d'Affairs and Acting Ambassador Heide Fulton @USAmbHonduras. Ask for respect for human rights, freedom of expression and right to nonviolence resistance; call for an end to state violence direct against the protestors. ... See MoreSee Less