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Open Letter: Restore Civil Liberties and Protect Human Rights in Honduras

We call on the de facto government of Honduras to restore constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties, respect human rights and freedom of expression, accept international monitoring and mediation, and establish dialogue with the constitutionally elected administration of President Manuel Zelaya. We call on all parties in Honduras to resolve this conflict through peaceful means.

We are greatly concerned about the Micheletti government’s decision to suspend constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties through the decree published on September 26th, 2009 in the official government newspaper. We are also concerned about the violations of human rights and freedom of expression that have taken place since President Manuel Zelaya returned to Honduras on September 21st. We call upon the government to immediately cease excessive use of force by police and military directed at peaceful protestors; arbitrary detentions; and harassment, surveillance and attacks against human rights defenders. We urge the government to cease acts of hostility and harassment directed at the Brazilian Embassy. We are gravely concerned about restrictions upon the freedom of the press, including the suspension of guarantees of freedom of expression included in the September 26th decree and actions to cut off power to, occupy and close media outlets.

We urge the de facto government to immediately accept Organization of American States mediators, and call upon the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress to accept the request of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to conduct a visit to verify the reports of human rights abuses since September 21st. We further call upon the government to provide access to other UN and OAS special rapporteurs to monitor the human rights situation.

Finally, we urge the U.S. State Department to advocate strongly for protection of human rights and civil liberties, and to use all diplomatic means to restore constitutional order in Honduras and support, in conjunction with Organization of American States, a process for national dialogue.

Jean Stokan
Director
Institute Justice Team, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Reverend John L. McCullough
Executive Director and CEO
Church World Service

Vicki Gass
Senior Associate for Rights and Development
Washington Office on Latin America

Robert E. White
President
Center for International Policy

Jennifer Atlee
Co-Director
Quixote Center

John A. Nunes
President and CEO
Lutheran World Relief

Viviana Krsticevic
Executive Director
Center for Justice and International Law

Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister
Michael Neuroth, Policy Advocate on International Issues
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries

LaMarco Cable
Program Associate for Advocacy and Education
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ

James E. Winkler
General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Church

T. Michael McNulty
Justice and Peace Director
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Sarah Stephens, Executive Director
Bart Beeson, Program Associate
Center for Democracy in the Americas

Mary B. Campbell
Associate Director for Companionship, Advocacy,and Education for Latin America and
the Caribbean, Global Mission

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Erin Kliewer
Executive Director

STITCH

Amanda Martin
Director
Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA

Eric LeCompte
National Organizer
SOA Watch

John Lindsay-Poland and Susana Pimiento Chamorro
Co-Directors
Fellowship of Reconciliation Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean

Marie Dennis
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Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Nan McCurdy
President

CEPRHI, Ecumenical Committee of English Speaking Church Personnel, Nicaragua

Stephen Coats
Executive Director
US Labor Education in the Americas Project - USLEAP

Kristen Moller
Executive Director
Global Exchange

Dave Robinson
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement

Roz Dzelzitis
Executive Director
May I Speak Freely Media

Laura Carlsen
Director, Americas Program
Center for International Policy

Sharon Hostetler
Executive Director
Witness for Peace

Barbara Mecker
Staff Liaison, Latin America/Caribbean Committee
Loretto Community

Mary Ellen McNish
General Secretary
American Friends Service Committee

Sarah Aird
Board Member
Amnesty International USA

Jim Vondracek
Managing Director
Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN)

Manuel Pérez Rocha
Associate Fellow
Institute for Policy Studies

José Artiga
Executive Director
SHARE Foundation

September 29, 2009


Coordinated by Latin America Working Group

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