Honduras: Report from the 24-30 January emergency delegation of religious leaders to Honduras
22/2/18 - In January 2018, Pax Christi International participated in a delegation to Honduras in the aftermath of the recent contested election and reports of human rights abuses. Fifty faith leaders and social justice advocates formed the delegation. The report from the delegation is now available. It begins:
"On January 24th, 2018 fifty faith and civic leaders from the United States, Canada, Colombia, and Argentina embarked on a six-day Emergency Religious Delegation to Honduras in the aftermath of a contested presidential election and reports of state-sponsored human rights violations against the Honduran people. Eight religious denominations were represented by the 40+ faith groups and human rights organizations that sent delegates from 13 states in the U.S. The group traveled to Honduras in response to an invitation from Jesuit Father Ismael 'Melo' Moreno, director of Radio Progreso and ERIC (Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación), and other faith groups in Honduras who accompany impoverished and marginalized people...
"Our delegation primarily spent time in San Pedro Sula and Progreso in the north of Honduras, and also traveled to the capital of Tegucigalpa. We met with the staffs of the Jesuit-sponsored Radio Progreso and ERIC. Radio Progreso is one of the few independent media stations in Honduras. ERIC is a leadership development program that promotes civic participation and community development. They have trained more than 900 young people under the age of 30, including indigenous, campesinos, religious and lay men and women around the themes of human rights, democracy, gender and ecological justice, and have sponsored a legal team to represent human rights defenders.
"In addition, we met with Catholic congregations of men and women religious. We accompanied them to religious gatherings in support of a just resolution to the current crisis in the country. We met with survivors and relatives of victims who had been shot and killed by the National Police and Military using live ammunition to break up peaceful protests. We took testimonies of family members whose loved ones were arrested and tortured by the Honduran Security Forces. We wept and prayed with these victims, including a young father of two, who was left paralyzed and brain-damaged after being shot while walking home from work near a protest..."
Additionally there will be a Day of Prayer for Peace with Justice in Honduras on 18 May in Washington, D.C. The day will also include visits to congressional offices, a meeting to plan ongoing solidarity with Honduras, and a send off for Father Melo and his team back to Honduras accompanied by their sisters and brothers from the United States.