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HONDURAS
The government´s truth
5/20/2010
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Government names truth commission to investigate coup.

Honduras´ government on May 4 appointed a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) to investigate the coup last June 28 that kicked President Manuel Zelaya from office, but human rights groups worry that it will fail to address right violations stemming from the ouster.

The five-member commission that includes former Guatemalan Vice President Eduardo Stein, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kergin, former Peruvian Justice Minister María Zavala, Honduran legal expert Jorge Omar Caso and president of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, Julieta Castellanos, will have eight months to investigate those responsible for the coup.

The commission “will get to the bottom of what caused the political crisis,” said Stein. “We want it to be clear that we haven´t come to the commission to be chroniclers, because for that they should have hired a historian.”

But rights groups and members of the Honduran opposition said the commission falls short of investigating the repression that followed the coup.

Opposition members have called an alternative truth commission that will include Nobel Peace Prize winners Rigoberta Menchú and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

The New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice, or ICTJ, said in a statement that the commission´s mandate is vague and makes no mention of human rights.

“The TRC´s mandate is a cause for concern,” said Javier Ciurlizza, director of ICTJ´s Americas Program, who also was executive secretary of Peru´s truth commission that investigated the deaths during the 1980-2000 internal armed conflict. “It does not cover assassinations and attacks perpetrated against journalists and social activists since June 2009. And it’s alarming that the mandate also appears to omit past events in the history of Honduras, which has a serious history of authoritarianism and de facto regimes.”

"There cannot be reconciliation without full truth and justice for victims. The lack of direct consultation with victims and a broad range of political and civil society actors raises questions about the integrity of this effort,” he added. “The international community should carefully judge the legitimacy of this initiative before normalizing political and economic relations with Honduras.”  The government of President Porfirio Lobo, which began on Jan. 27, has only been recognized by Central American governments, except Nicaragua, and Colombia and Peru in South America.
—Latinamerica Press.


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