UN Security Council Must Act on Honduras Crisis

Please consider signing this urgent letter to President Obama demanding the U.S. to support Brazil’s proposal to have the UN Security Council focus and act on the Honduran crisis. This is very important, as Security Council resolutions are binding and could finally result in effective sanctions against the illegitimate interim government, as well as prevent additional injuries and human rights abuses.

Thank you,
COHA Staff

Dear President Obama,

We urge you, in your capacity as temporary president of the United Nations Security Council, to support Brazil’s request for an emergency session of the Security Council to address the political and human rights crisis in Honduras. We note that State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly stated, “we’re looking at [Brazil’s request] positively,” and we encourage you to follow this sentiment with forceful action.

As you know, the situation in Honduras is very dangerous for both the Honduran people and Honduras’ democratic institutions. Early Tuesday morning, police and military forces violently dispersed thousands of demonstrators that spent the night in front of the Brazilian embassy to peacefully support ousted President Manuel Zelaya following his return to Honduras. Water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings, and, according to some reports, live ammunition were used to dislodge the crowd, resulting in numerous injuries according to independent press accounts. At least two demonstrators have been killed, according to Honduran police, and a large number of demonstrators have been detained (the de facto Minister of Interior acknowledged 174 detentions), some of whom are being held in stadiums in a chilling reminder of the 1973 coup d’etat in Chile. The regime’s violent attacks on the crowd followed its imposition of a curfew Monday, originally for 16 hours, but later extended Tuesday and Wednesday.

The coup regime has repeatedly cut power, water, and phone service to the Brazilian embassy, and has mounted a six block solid cordon around it. It has posted sharp-shooters nearby, and is blasting loud music at the building in a clear effort to force President Zelaya to leave the embassy premises.

Furthermore, the few independent media outlets that continue to operate in Honduras are reporting similar incidents of violent repression in other parts of the country, particularly Honduras’ second-largest city, San Pedro Sula, where peaceful demonstrators have been attacked and detained by police. Police and troops continue to brutally beat demonstrators in a tactic documented and condemned by Amnesty International.

The regime has suspended constitutional guarantees to freedom of assembly and the press, and has repeatedly shut down the broadcast signal of radio outlets Radio Globo and Channel 36. Meanwhile, the regime is targeting human rights groups – the human rights monitor Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH) reported that their offices have been attacked with tear gas.

These violations of human rights have been denounced by human rights organizations including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States (OAS), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.

The regime continues to rebuff all calls from the international community for a solution to the crisis and to respect human rights. It is highly likely, then, that it will escalate repression against Zelaya’s supporters, and may well violate the rights of Zelaya himself and others in the Brazilian embassy in a show of force. A coup regime official appeared to claim that international law would not prevent them from raiding the embassy.

It is important to note that some of the regime’s worst violence against Zelaya’s supporters over the past three months has taken place during curfews – especially when the regime has cracked down on demonstrations and marches. Under the current circumstances, the regime can be expected to confront new peaceful demonstrations with brutal violence, resulting in new deaths, beatings, rapes, and detentions, as international human rights groups have documented since the coup took place on June 28.

The OAS and the UN General Assembly have previously passed resolutions supporting Honduras’ return to democracy and constitutional order, but these were not binding. Now that Zelaya has returned to Honduras, and the de facto regime has responded to his mere presence with an assault on his supporters and severe harassment of the embassy itself, it is time for action by the UN Security Council to force the dictatorship to respect basic human rights and freedoms, including freedom of assembly and of the press, and to agree to the restoration of the elected government.

Sincerely,

Dana Frank
Professor of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

Greg Grandin
Department of History
New York University

Forrest Hylton
Assistant Professor of Political Science/Int’l. Relations
Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)

Robert Naiman
Policy Director
Just Foreign Policy

Larry Birns
Executive Director
Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Mark Weisbrot
Co-Director
Center for Economic and Policy Research

17 thoughts on “UN Security Council Must Act on Honduras Crisis

  • September 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm
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    I must object!

    I have followed your coverage and have spoken daily with my family in San Pedro Sula for months now and the perspectives cannot be more discrepant. It is ABSOLUTELY obvious that your editorial bias has overtaken the objectivity of your reporting and analysis.

    Stop the silly glosses and amarillismo and give honest balance a chance!

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    • September 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm
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      I also have spoken daily with people in Honduras and this letter reflects what they are saying. I will be distributing this letter to everyone I know as I believe it is vital that the UN step in to defend unarmed democratic protestors.

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      • October 4, 2009 at 2:30 pm
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        Hmmm. I guess if you choose to speak with those already haven taken a position, you could hear most anything you want. I could speak with only left-leaning activists and take away a very different perspective. Fortunately I have many family members and friends from varying political economic vantage points and I can fully assure that the heavily left-leaning opinion-news hear does not reflect what the vast majority of Hondurans think; or what is, in fact, happening there.

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  • September 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm
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    As an observer from Costa Rica and a US citizen, I also must object to the slanted message in this article. The article does not present facts, documentation or any other form of journalistic credibility. I also object to the words. "This is very important." I always decide what is important and what is not. I don't have to be told. Secondly, I would suggest that we let the Hondurans work problems out for themselves without the intervention of the rest of the world. Unfortunately, we here in Costa Rica got stuck with the deposed president and had to get involved for a wonderfully short time. No I will not sign the letter.

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  • September 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm
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    Power and water have been restored to the embassy, the loudspeakers were removed on WEDNESDAY and all 174 protestors were released. Just because it 'looks like Chile' doesn't mean it is Chile. The problem is that apparently no one at COHA reads local press reports and makes things up right and left. Oh well, can't say I'm surprised.

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  • September 27, 2009 at 5:41 am
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    Sinceramente me preocupa lo que está sucediendo en Honduras, tuvimos un gobierno populista con Zelaya, quien demostro brindo atención la mayoría del pueblo y logro muchos objetivos importantes en beneficio de los pobres. Ahora, tenemos un régimen totalitario y represivo que viola los derechos humanos en todo el país y esta reprimiendo al pueblo constantemente. Como un hondureño que vive en este país, estoy en condiciones de decir que, a menos que los Estados Unidos intervengan pronto, la crisis sera peor y más gente va a morir. A menos que las Naciones Unidas impongan sanciones fuerte contra el régimen de facto, este continuara violando los tratado de Viena y todo lo que a representación diplomática se refiere. A menos que la comunidad internacional actúe pronto, el sufrimiento de los pobres será mayor porque, sera mas dificil, levantar la sanciones al siguiente gobierno por no reconocido, trayendo una consecuencies más devastadoras para la población y el pais en general.

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  • September 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm
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    I respectfully disagree with pretty much everything written in this article. The US and the international community need to butt out of the situation in Honduras. The US media is so overwhelmingly biased against Honduran President Micheletti and have fallen completely for the blather Zelaya has been feeding them.

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  • September 28, 2009 at 11:59 am
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    I believe this petition underscores something most of the early commentators seem to forget; no matter if the majority agrees to something, they still have to respect the rights of minorities. Right now the rights of Zelaya´s supporters and of Zelaya himself are being threatened by the excessive use of force. Let´s remind ourselves that the reason of being of state of emergencies is to better protect the rights of citizens in front of hardships or emergencies, not to better protect the government, whoever it is, from being assaulted by common people. There is a reason why human rights exist and that is to protect all, no matter who they are and what they think.
    The problem in Honduras therefore does not lie within whether the majority supports the use of force against Zelaya´s supporter but if it is proportionate, if it is directed to protect the population and if it falls within the limits of the protection of the rights of the protestors. So far, as reports from Newspapers from Honduras have pointed out, there have been injured, deaths and massive detentions. That is very concernin no matter from which side of the political spectrum you are. Moreover, if you pledge to protect democracy as Micheletti states he does when he assumed the interim presidency, you shall not use anti-democratic measure to dispel dissension.
    This is not a matter of Hondureans alone, but the promotion of human rights is a duty of every state and more importantly is one of the three duties that the UN has from its foundational charter. So if you would excuse me early commentators, there is a right to be protected from majorities and that is what the international community is pursuing… that excesses, as the ones so far committed, do not happen.

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  • September 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm
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    The right to dissension is tolerated only if and when that dissension does not call for the direct overthrow of a government. When that dissension includes a 'final offensive' and the words become violent actions, it's easy to see when that right needs to be somewhat abridged. The fight in Honduras is a battle for the soul of the country. It is quite possibly the biggest national emergency Honduras has ever faced, so it is understandable that some repressive measures would be taken. After all, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus to keep his country together and rights such as collective bargaining and the right to strike were suspended during both world wars.

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  • September 28, 2009 at 10:59 pm
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    Can someone explain to me why Zelaya wanted to have a Constitutional Convention in the first place. From what I understand, he was booted out the country for going around the judiciary and attempting to have a national poll on whether a constitutional convention should be held, but I have never heard it explained why Zelaya wanted this convention. This is a crucial point, since his detractors believe that the purpose of the convention would have been to extend Zelaya's term in office.

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  • September 28, 2009 at 11:07 pm
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    Zelaya tried to call a constituent assembly in order to reform or rewrite the Honduran constitution (He never said which). Similar conventions in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia extended rulers' terms there, so it was natural that some would believe that was the purpose. While a coup was a bit over the top, it was the only way that people like Roberto Micheletti knew how to respond. Zelaya set up a situation in which conflict was all but inevitable, and the current crisis is the result.

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    • October 1, 2009 at 3:27 am
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      The Constitutional reforms in the above mentioned countries did not "extend rulers terms" they simply removed restrictions on the number of terms a candidate can serve if the people should so choose to elect them. And he didn't try to call a constituent assembly, he tried to hold a non-binding referendum on whether the people of Honduras would like to form a constituent assembly i.e. do they believe that the constitution as it stands now represents the democratic interests of the people.
      Blame for the crises has to be pointed directly at the mega-wealthy Honduran elite, who clearly feel threatened by the prospect of the broader democratic involvement of the Honduran people, in particular the urban poor. This in mind, i think its a but much to blame Zelaya for the reactionary logic of the of people like Micheletti

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  • September 29, 2009 at 3:49 am
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    A menos que Ud. sea de los escuadrones de la muerte o familiar de un militar de Honduras, o un capitalista que apoya al gobierno de Micheletti, todo el mundo tiene que firmar esta carta, porque esta es la razon. lo humano y lo justo.

    Antes que no habia Hugo Chavez, los Golpes de Estado se justificaban como una lucha frontal contra el Comunismo Internacional, La Union Sovietica, y despues el Castro-Comunismo. Paciencia ya aparecera otro que ocupara ese respetable lugar, y por supuesto tiene que ser un defensor de los pobres, aunque muchos pobres no lo reconozcan hoy

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  • September 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm
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    Jua jua jua! Defensor de los pobres? El bigotudo? De veras sos de los comunistas mediocres "hechos en Honduras." Si ese deleted es la mejor esperanza para Honduras, de veras nos jodimos! Sos de sistema moribundo e ideologia chica, deleted! Te tenemos a tus partidarios deleted acorralados (edited)! Y no soy militar, capitalista, ni de la 3-16! deleted!

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    • September 29, 2009 at 11:16 am
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      The present comment has been edited for improper language. COHA will like to ask commenters to refrain from using insults and pejorative terms to other commenters as this degrades the debate that the articles pursue. Further comments that follow such a line of conduct will not be approved and therefore will not be published.

      El presente comentario ha sido editado por lenguaje inapropiado. COHA pide a los comentaristas que eviten utilizar insultos y terminos peyorativos hacia otros comentadores ya que esto degrada el debate que los articulos buscan. En adelante, comentarios de este tipo no seran aprobados y por lo tanto no seran publicados.

      Reply
  • October 1, 2009 at 4:54 am
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    Andy,
    Zelaya had the crazy idea that the constitution should be something both written by and for the people – not something pushed on to the Honduran people by outsiders, such as the US former President, Ronald Reagan.
    strange isn't it Velasquez and Micheletti conspired against Zelaya in order to protect the constitution – instead of protecting their US import – they themselves tore it up!

    Reply

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