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Situation worsening according to ARTICLE 19 and C-Libre's UPR submission

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 23 April 2010 - ARTICLE 19 has tabled a Submission to the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review for Honduras, to be held in November 2010. The Submission describes the worsening of freedom of expression and press freedom in Honduras before and after the 28 June 2009 coup, and the highly vulnerable conditions in which the media now operates.

The ARTICLE 19 and C-Libre Submission highlights the continuing deterioration of freedom of expression in the country as evidenced by the violent targeting of the media and the political opposition. Over the past 6 weeks, seven journalists have been attacked and killed, each under similar circumstances.

The Submission goes on to say that there have been attacks and censorship of journalists and human rights defenders, unjust use of criminal law to restrict free expression, a failure to promote media pluralism and diversity, a failure to fully protect freedom of information, and inappropriate and highly restrictive regulations of the media.

The Submission also makes the following recommendations:

• All human rights violations, including killings of journalists, must be immediately and impartially investigated; those responsible should be brought to justice
• Effective measures must be established and implemented to prevent threats and attacks against the media, human rights defenders and others exercising their right to freedom of expression, and to investigate all attacks which have occurred since 28 June, bringing those responsible to justice and compensating the victims
• All legislation, decrees and executive orders issued by the de facto authorities which violate freedom of expression, freedom of movement or freedom of assembly must be repealed
• Defamation, slander and libel must be decriminalised and other restrictions on freedom of expression such as content regulation should be reviewed to ensure that they are in accordance with international standards
• The right to information law must be implemented fully, including through strengthening the regulatory body, and proactive promotion of the right to information for all
• Effective measures to prevent media concentration and create a diverse and plural media, including access to media, should be adopted
• Official advertising should be regulated to ensure allocation is fair and objective, and not based on the editorial line of media outlets

"The political crisis in Honduras is far from being resolved. The high number of killings of journalists is a clear indicator that the situation is in fact worsening. The intervention of the international community is crucial, if further deterioration and violations of human rights and freedom of expression are to be prevented," says Dr. Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

Click below to download the full submission:
honduras-informe-de-article-19-y-c-libre.pdf (125 KB)

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