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Bill Summary: 

This bill prohibits funds from being made available to Honduras for the police or military (including for equipment and training), and directs the Department of the Treasury to instruct U.S. representatives at multilateral development banks to vote against any loans for the police or military of Honduras, until the Department of States certifies that the government of Honduras has:

  • prosecuted members of the military and police for human rights violations and ensured that such violations have ceased;
  • established the rule of law and guaranteed a judicial system capable of bringing to justice members of the police and military who have committed human rights abuses;
  • established that it protects the rights of trade unionists, journalists, human rights defenders, government critics, and civil society activists to operate without interference;
  • withdrawn the military from domestic policing; and
  • brought to trial and obtained verdicts against those who ordered and carried out the attack on Felix Molina and the killings of Berta Caceres, Joel Palacios Lino, Elvis Armando Garcia, and over 100 small-farmer activists in the Aguan Valley.



Current co-sponsors:

60 total in U.S.; from IL – Schakowsky, Lipinski, Gutierrez, Rush, Davis, Quigley, Foster



Reasons to Co-sponsor
:

  1. The U.S. should not fund security forces that have committed such an alarming number of human rights abuses with a 97% impunity rate.

    Some argue that U.S. training for Honduran troops will professionalize them, but there is no evidence of improvement since the 2009 military coup d’etat. Those who planned that coup
    are still in power. In fact, there is credible evidence that units of the Honduran military trained by the U.S. are operating as “death squads” and have hit lists of the leaders of various social movements. Berta Cáceres was one casualty.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/berta-caceres-honduras-military-intelligence-us-trained-special-forces
  2. The U.S should not entrust funds to an administration as corrupt as that of Juan Orlando Hernández’ in a country with such a weak judicial system.

    We cannot have any confidence that funds given to Honduras will be used for their intended purpose. There is rampant institutional corruption in Honduras. High-level officials siphon off money from public institutions for their own gain or for political advantage. The looting of at least $350 million from the social security system by its chief administrator, part of which funded National Party efforts to elect current President Hernández in 2013, is an example.

    The Unbearable Solitude of Honduras’ Attorney General


Officials also have been implicated in taking bribes from drug trafficking gangs in exchange for allowing gangs to operate without police interference.

Another Day, Another Damning Testimony of Elites by Honduras Trafficker


3.  U.S. funds should not be sent to support military and police forces in a country which                 appears headed for dictatorship.

Current President Hernández is running for re-election, forbidden by the Honduran Constitution. Last year, he fired 4 Supreme Court justices who challenged the constitutionality of his running for re-election and appointed replacements who would support it. He uses the military in domestic policing, also forbidden by the Constitution, and has formed a Military Police Force in addition to the National Police. This year, the Honduran Congress passed changes to the penal code that threaten free speech and freedom of assembly rights, with stiff criminal penalties, which have citizens worried that they will not be able effectively to publicly oppose government policies.

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205 thoughts on “H.R. 1299 Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act

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