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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Human Rights and Corruption in Honduras

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 3:00pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on human rights and corruption in Honduras.   

On January 19, 2020, the mandate for the Organization of American States (OAS) Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), which aims to "improv[e] the quality of services delivered by the justice system of Honduras in the prevention and fight against corruption and impunity,” will expire. A decision to extend the mandate is in the hands of the government of Honduras led by President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Last October 18, Tony Hernández, the president’s brother, was convicted by a Manhattan federal court of helping to import 200,000 kilos of cocaine into the United States and related charges. On September 8, Garifuna community leader Mirna Teresa Suazo Martínez was shot to death, the fourth Garifuna woman to be murdered in September and one of 17 Garifuna people killed this year alone. On November 27, television host José Arita was killed, the fourth killing of a journalist this year according to the Inter-American Press Association. Although formally a democracy, Freedom House rates Honduras as only partly free, and the country ranks 146 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index. Two years ago Global Witness ranked Honduras the most dangerous place in the world for land and environmental activists. Meanwhile, during the first 9 months of FY 2019, U.S. officials apprehended more than 205,000 Hondurans at the southwest U.S. border, more than 2.5 times the FY 2018 total. Most were families.

Witnesses will examine the overall human rights situation in Honduras, including the causes of rights abuses and the relationship between human rights violations and corruption, and will offer recommendations for congressional action.

This hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website and will also be available for viewing on Channel 55 of the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 (for Co-Chair McGovern) or Piero Tozzi at 202-225-3765 (for Co-Chair Smith).   

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Christopher H. Smith
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • Esmeralda Arosemena de Troiteño, President, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Panel II

  • Lisa Haugaard, Co-Director, Latin America Working Group Education Fund
    Written testimony
  • Eric L. Olson, Director of Policy, Seattle International Foundation
    Written testimony  
  • Edy Tábora, Director, Comité por la Libre Expresión (Committee for Free Expression), C-Libre
  • Ana Quintana, Senior Policy Analyst, Latin America and the Western Hemisphere, The Heritage Foundation
    Written testimony


Submitted for the Record




116th Congress