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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Voices from Honduras: Human Rights and Accountability

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 9:30am
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on the human rights situation in post-election Honduras.   

Widespread protests occurred in the aftermath of the disputed November 2017 general elections in Honduras. In response, the Honduran government imposed a state of emergency and curfew, and deployed police and members of the armed forces to remove protesters from the streets. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights registered 23 people killed during the post-electoral protests, and identified other irregularities that led the Office to express concerns about the use of excessive lethal force. Non-governmental organizations documented additional abuses.

Prior to the elections, there was already widespread alarm about threats and attacks against human rights defenders.  The March 2016 assassination of Berta Cáceres, an award-winning indigenous rights and environmental leader, is the most notorious case. But Honduras has the highest number of killings of human rights defenders on a per capita basis in the world. Broad international concern with the ineffectiveness of the judicial system had informed the creation of the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) just two months before Cáceres’ death.

Honduras is encompassed within the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, and U.S. officials just concluded a bilateral human rights dialogue. This briefing will provide an opportunity to hear from Honduran human rights defenders about the current situation on the ground, and ask what more Congress and the U.S. government should be doing in light of  ongoing human rights problems.

This briefing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or (for Rep. McGovern) or Jamie Staley at 202-226-1516 or (for Rep. Hultgren).

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC



  • Rev. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. (Padre Melo), Jesuit priest in Honduras
  • Karla Rivas, Honduran journalist
  • Ely Castro Rosales, Local Coordinator, Convergence Against Continuance, Honduras
  • Lisa Haugaard, Executive Director, Latin America Working Group
  • Charles Call, Associate Professor, School of International Service, American University and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution


  • Peter J. Meyer, Specialist in Latin American Affairs, Congressional Research Service

Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC



Opening Remarks

Rep. James P. McGovern, Opening Remarks: Voices from Honduras


Rev. Ismael Moreno Coto, S.J. (Padre Melo), Voices from Honduras
Karla Rivas, Voices from Honduras
Ely Castro Rosales, Voices from Honduras
Lisa Haugaard, Voices from Honduras


UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Human rights violations in the context of the 2017 elections in Honduras
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Visit to Honduras 29 April - 12 May, End of mission statement
UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Report on mission to Honduras
American University Center for Latin American & Latino Studies, The MACCIH Monitor, Issue 4, May 18, 2018
April 30, 2018 letter to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan in advance of upcoming human rights dialogue with the Honduran government
Fact Sheet from the Honduran Ministry of Security

115th Congress