Category Archives: press releases & communiques

CCR: Parents of Activist Teen Shot and Killed after Illegal Honduras Coup File Suit against Micheletti

Parents of Activist Teen Shot and Killed after Illegal Honduras Coup File Suit against Micheletti

Extrajudicial Killing, Crimes against Humanity and Other Human Rights Violations Occurred under Post-Coup Leader’s Authority and Direction


Para leer esto comunicado de prensa en espanol, haga clic aqui.

June 23, 2011, Houston – Today, almost two years after the military coup in Honduras, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a complaint in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, on behalf of David Murillo and Silvia Mencías, the parents of 19-year-old Isis Obed Murillo who was shot and killed by Honduran military forces during a peaceful demonstration against the military coup d’etat of June 28, 2009. The defendant is Roberto Micheletti Baín, former president of the Honduran National Congress who assumed the role of head of the de facto government immediately following the coup d’état ousting President Zelaya. The complaint details extrajudicial killing, crimes against humanity of murder and persecution, wrongful death and other gross human rights violations that occurred in Honduras under the authority and/or direction of Micheletti.

“I want no more bloodshed,” said Silvia Mencías, mother of the killed teen. “I don’t want any other mothers to suffer the way I have.”

“I was Isis Obed’s friend, teacher and father. We carry our pain like a cross, but Isis Obed’s legacy – the principles with which we raised him – will always be alive in our minds,” said David Murillo, Isis Obed’s father. “In life and in his work with social organizations, he was committed to defending the rights of others.”

On July 5, 2009, President Zelaya attempted to return to Honduras and restore the democratically-elected government. Zelaya intended to fly by airplane to Honduras and land at Toncontin International Airport in the capital of Tegucigalpa . Nineteen-year-old activist Isis Murillo and his family joined thousands of other coup opponents at the airport for a non-violent, peaceful gathering to welcome Zelaya back and support the restoration of the government. When Zelaya’s plane attempted to but was blocked from landing, Isis Murillo was shot in the head by Honduran military and died just moments after.

“The forces of Micheletti’s de facto government killed Isis Murillo as part of the severe crackdown and repression that ensued immediately following the coup,” said Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney Pamela Spees. “Our clients’ son was a casualty of the systemic attacks on fundamental rights under this illegitimate regime.”

Subsequent to Isis ’ killing, the plaintiff and his family were subjected to surveillance and harassment by police and other authorities. This harassment took place in the context of what lawyers describe as an intense repression and political persecution that began under Michiletti’s regime that targeted the National Front of Popular Resistance, which formed in opposition to the coup, as well as journalists and other groups standing in opposition.
“How is forgiveness possible if there is no investigation, sanction nor reparation – when there is impunity?” said Bertha Oliva, Director of El Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH), Center for Constitutional Rights’ partner in bringing this complaint. “As family members of people who were forcibly disappeared for political and ideological reasons, we know full well that reconciliation is not reached through forgiveness and forgetting of atrocities. We need truth and justice to move forward.”

To view the complaint or for more information on the lawsuit, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Honduras page or For information on the Center for Constitutional Rights Freedom of Information Act litigation around Honduras , visit


The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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OFRANEH: ALERT, April 7: Eviction in the Garifuna community of Punta Gorda, Roatan

ALERT: Eviction in the Garifuna community of Punta Gorda, Roatan.

At the request of the Military Social Security Institute [Instituto de Prevision Militar, IPM, which owns several businesses], agents from the Ministry of Security are right now carrying out an eviction in the island community of Punta Gorda, Roatan.

The more than 40 families that are being violently evicted live in the neighbourhood known as Punta Gorda, located in the community of the same name. It is outrageous that that while the State of Honduras boasts about a policy of inclusion and makes an ostentatious show of its celebration of the International Year of Afro-Descendants, the armed forces order the Ministry of Security to carry out an eviction.

As Garifuna, we find ourselves suffering a second expulsion from the Caribbean. In just a few days, on April 12th, the arrival of our People to Honduras will be commemorated, specifically marking our arrival to the island of Roatan, after our forced displacement by the British from the island of Saint Vincent in 1797.

The pressures on our territory that our People suffer are rooted in the speculation by the tourism industry. Projects such as Banana Coast, Laguna de Micos, and in a not-so-distant future the so-called Model City have precipitated an onslaught of evictions in Punta Gorda and in the majority of coastal communities, which are the aim of businesspeople, politicians and armed forces, taking advantage of the vast judicial void that exists in Honduras.

Since the coup d’etat in 2009, the pressures on Garifuna territory have intensified. The eviction in Punta Gorda is part of the “Christian humanism” of the current administration, which uses violence in an attempt to impose its vision of a “democracy” of the few associated with the party in power.

The Garifuna of Punta Gorda lack a land deed for their territory, despite dancing to the tune of numerous governmental administrations over the years – administrations that tend to celebrate the anniversary of our arrival to Honduras in Punta Gorda with rituals of power.

How will the State of Honduras and its kindred organizations explain this eviction at the Afro-Descendant summit they plan to hold this August? Basta Ya – enough! – of the expulsion of the Garifuna People of Honduras.

La Ceiba, April 7, 2011.


Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH
Tel: (504) 4420618, (504) 4500058
Av 14 julio, calle 19, Contiguo Vivero Flor Tropical, Barrio Alvarado, La Ceiba, Honduras


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[en] COFADEH: Alert in the Aguan, Young MUCA Member Murdered

Alert: New Violent Incidents in the Aguan, Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras, COFADEH, calls out urgently to the international community in the face of new acts of violence that occurred in the Aguan region today, Thursday, April 1st:

1.-We condemn the murder of 22-year-old Miguel Alonso Oliva, murdered by security guards when the Aguan Unified Campesino Movement (MUCA) occupied lands in the Boleros estate, which are illegally possessed by landowner Rene Morales.

2.-At the same time, we condemn the lack of quick action to solve the land conflict in the lower Aguan by the Porfirio Lobo Sosa regime, which is showing itself to be acquiescent to the landowners by failing to take on the responsibility of returning the State-owned lands that should be immediately handed over to the campesinos and campesinas, as per the law.

3.-We urge the international community to send urgent actions to the Honduran State in order to end this precarious and difficult situation against women, men, and children. They are terrorized by the weapons belonging both to the security guards working for landowners Miguel Facusse, Rene Morales and Reynaldo Canales, as well as those of the heavily-armed army and police forces that are preparing to move into the area with the intention of evicting the campesinos and campesinas who have recuperated the lands along the left bank of the Aguan river. Several cooperatives are located along the left bank: Suyapa del Aguán, Guanchías, Buenos Amigos, Remolino, Despertar, Trinidad, San Esteban, Quebrada Honda, Paso Aguán, El Plantel, Islas 1 and 2, Marañones, and Boleros.

4.-We proclaim our solidarity with the family of young Miguel Alonso Oliva, whose wake is being held in the community of Guadalupe Carney in Silin, Colon, where dozens of people have gathered to accompany his relatives.

5.-COFADEH has received unconfirmed reports of other possible deaths of security guards, demonstrating the urgency of a resolution to this conflict in order to avoid further bloodshed and the polarization of the Honduran family.


Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, April 1st, 2010

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[en] Human Rights Platform: Prevent Intensification of Violence in Aguan Region

Press Release

We Must Prevent the Intensification of Violent Incidents in the Lower Aguan

The Human Rights Platform, in its travels to learn in situ about the conditions of violence in the Aguan Valley and the conditions in which the families organized in the Aguan Unified Farmworkers’ Movement (MUCA) live, visited the La providencia de la Concepción, La Aurora, La Confianza and Los Camarones cooperatives, located along the right-hand riverbank, and the Guanchías cooperative along the left bank.

From this visit, we summarize our report in the following points:

* The facts learned refute the media campaign that criminalizes the actions taken by MUCA, relating them to guerilla groups advised by foreigners who supposedly operate in the region;

* We confirmed the presence in the land occupations of families including children (including infants), pregnant women, seniors, disabled people, living in deplorable conditions;

* The Human Rights Platform has documented complaints that reflect a state of distress, helplessness, and anxiety, caused by the presence of groups armed with sophisticated military equipment (weapons with laser beams and night vision) that harass the population in the area, violent evictions, and constant death threats against members of the different cooperatives;

* The testimonies highlight that various people have been injured as a result of the violent evictions and acts of intimidation, and that a series of anomalies has taken place during illegal detentions: arrest and detention of minors (children between 5 and 8 years of age); confinement in places of detention with no legal authorization (a case in which detainees were held in military facilities in the region); the supposed authorities did not identify themselves at the moment arrest, and did not read the detainees’ rights or inform them of the supposed charges.

* We denounce the precarious situation of the families claiming their right to land in the lower Aguan. Among our discoveries in the settlements, we found that there is little food, serious signs of malnutrition, unsanitary conditions, huts made of palm fronds and/or plastic, where entire families live, and ontop of all of this the lack of medical attention that may cause problems in the children’s development. Furthermore, the Human Rights Platform is concerned about the impossibility of obtaining a working income while the crisis continues.

* In the case of the Guanchías cooperative, the families occupying the property are living in warehouses with toxic waste, which represents a threat to their health. Ontop of this, ten people with rabies due to bat bites have been identified.

* Apart from the violations of the rights to life and to physical and psychological integrity, the rights to education, health, and food are being violated.

As the Human Rights Platform, we declare ourselves in constant vigilance with respect to the situation in the lower Aguan, taking into account that it demands prioritized attention in terms of human rights.

We demand that the Special Attorney’s Office on Human Rights pay close attention to the conflict posed in this region and we encourage the national and international community and international human rights organizations to issue statements with regard to the observations presented in this release.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 24, 2010.


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[en] Human Rights Platform concerned about potential eviction in Aguan Valley

Human Rights Platform warns of possible violent eviction of farmworkers’ settlements in the lower Aguan

The Human Rights Platform informs the national and international community of the possible violent eviction of the families organized in the Aguan United Farmworkers Movement (MUCA) engaged in land occupations in the Aguan Valley. According to reports received about the current state of the negotiations, the designated governmental commission will present a written proposal to the farmworkers’ movement today.

MUCA has announced that it will analyse the proposal with its members and will then make a declaration on the subject. The concern is that if the farmworkers’ response does not please the landowners, the latter may proceed to an eviction using the traditional violent methods that, given the current circumstances, could result in deaths and injuries.

According to formal complaints obtained in the region, heavily armed uniformed groups aided by special equipment for nocturnal operations patrol the areas surrounding the farmworkers’ settlements in a threatening way.

The Human Rights Platform believes that the necessary precautions should be taken to avoid potential violence, which would once again endanger the physical and psychological integrity of thousands involved in the conflict.

The Honduran State is responsible for preventing and guaranteeing that citizens’ human rights are respected and for punishing the perpetrators of crimes against the physical integrity of others. It is also responsible for ensuring that farmworkers have access to land and other resources to live decently.

We demand that the Special Attorney’s Office on Human Rights pay attention to events in the region and take measures appropriate to the particular conditions there in order to avoid greater trouble.

We ask that international human rights organizations, populations, and governments demand of Porfirio Lobo Sosa the immediate dismantling of paramilitary squadrons and a halt to actions of repressive State forces biased in favour of the landowners.

Tegucigalpa, MDC, Honduras, March 24, 2010


[translation from the original Spanish version by Sandra Cuffe]

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[en] COFADEH denounces threats against its members


The Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) denounces that this past Sunday, February 7th, at around eight in the morning, Daniel Martinez, who was in our office at the time, answered a phone call to 222-71-44, and a woman warned him: “Be careful because there is going to be an attack against you people, especially those of you who are out in the streets…”

Martinez explained that when he asked the woman who was speaking, she hung up the phone.

This new threat against COFADEH occurs at a time when the repressive forces of the State continue to hunt various people linked to the resistance. Some of the recent incidents that have us on alert are:

On February 3rd, young nurse Vanesa Zepeda (29) was found dead. She was an active participant in the resistance against the coup d’etat and a union activist from the Honduras Institute of Social Security (IHSS). She had left her home at two in the afternoon, after which time there was no further contact with her. Her body was thrown from a vehicle in the Loarque neighbourhood, between 6:30 and 7:00 that night. Administrative persecution by way of layoff hearings in Social Security were the preamble to her death.

On February 2nd, young camerographers Manuel de Jesus Murillo Varela, of the Hable como Habla program, and Ricardo Rodriguez, of the Mi Nacion news program, were temporarily kidnapped by a police unit of men dressed in civilian clothing who drove them to a clandestine jail where they were subjected to “the hood” and were asphixiated to the point that they lost consciousness. They were also contantly threatened that if they did not say where they had money and weapons, their heads and toes would be cut off.

That same night, Resistance members Ariel Lobo and Ricardo Dominguez were arrested by the preventative police and were transferred to the police station in El Manchen. The two were also interrogated about ownership of weapons. In August 2009, Ariel Lobo was the victim of a kidnapping attempt by soldiers and heavilly armed men dressed in civilian clothing who were carrying out an operative in downtown Tegucigalpa.

In mid-January, teacher, indigenous Pech leader and active resistance member Blas Lopez was murdered in the community of Carbonal, in the department of Olancho.

COFADEH requests that the international community, and especially human rights organizations, stay alert and express their concern about the current situation.

Committee of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras, COFADEH

Tegucigalpa, MDC, February 7th, 2010.

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[en] OFRANEH: Urgent! Attack against Garifuna Community Radio in Triunfo de la Cruz

Urgent! Attack against Garifuna community radio in Triunfo de la Cruz

Today, early this morning, the Faluma Bimetu community radio was the victim of an attack carried out by unknown authors who set fire to the room where the community radio was installed.

Faluma Bimetu has been around for more than a decade, during which it has focused on strengthening Garifuna culture, as well as participating in the creation of an early alert system, programs concerning HIV/AIDS, and providing general information that goes beyond the habitual distortion that is normally promoted by mass media.

The Garifuna community radios fulfill a social function without any profit motive, especially Faluma Bimetu, which has been transmiting in an area that has been converted into a highly conflictive region by the powerful Honduran elites, because of the interest that financial groups have in displacing the Garifuna communities to use our beaches for their tourism projects.

In recent years, the Municipality of Tela has divided the community by way of a parallel Community Council (“Patronato,” the State-recognized form of local government) that favours the interests of tourism businesspeople. The Faluma Bimetu radio has been one of the champions of the defense of ancestral territory.

Eyewitnesses to the attack report that the humble building where the radio was housed has been destroyed, and that equipment has been lost. This incident is an enormous loss for the community of Triunfo and for the Garifuna people in general.

Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras, OFRANEH

Tel. (504) 442-0618, (504) 450-0058

Av 14 julio, calle 19, Contiguo Vivero Flor Tropical, Barrio Alvarado, La Ceiba, Honduras



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