Honduras Human Rights

General Country Conditions

Concerns about human rights in Honduras have intensified since the democratically elected President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales was forced from power on June 28 and expelled from the country by a military-backed group of politicians led by Roberto Micheletti, former leader of the National Congress. There has been widespread unrest in the country since the coup d’etat with frequent clashes between the police, military and civilian protestors. At least two people have died after being shot during protests.

Excessive Use of Force and Unlawful Killings

The use of live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas by the police and military led to the death of at least 10 people. The arbitrary and indiscriminate use of tear gas, with insufficient warning or precautions, caused physical harm to scores of protesters, including children. Hospitals were not given information about the chemical substances used, hindering them from providing treatment.

Nineteen-year-old Isis Obed Murillo died from a gunshot wound to the head on 5 July after members of the military fired live ammunition during a demonstration at Toncontín airport in Tegucigalpa. The military reportedly refused to co-operate with the investigation into his death.

In August, 38-year-old teacher Roger Abraham Vallejo died in hospital as a result of injuries sustained from a bullet wound to the head, reportedly fired by police during the break-up of a protest in Tegucigalpa in July.

In September, 16-year-old Gerson Ariel Cruz was seriously wounded by police following the break-up of a protest in Tegucigalpa. According to an eyewitness, the police chased protesters into a residential neighbourhood where they opened fire, shooting Gerson Ariel Cruz, who had taken no part in the protest. An investigation by the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights was under way at the end of the year.

Violence Against Women

Women demonstrators and women in custody reported sexual abuse and harassment by police officers. Many women reported being beaten on the buttocks and backs of the legs by police during demonstrations. No investigations were conducted into gender-based violence during the disturbances.

N. was separated from her family during a demonstration in Choloma on 14 August. She was arbitrarily detained by police officers who, after dropping other detainees off at a police station, took N. to a remote location where four police officers raped her consecutively.

A 34-year-old woman told Amnesty International that she and her 59-year-old mother were repeatedly beaten across the back of the thighs and buttocks by police using batons during one protest.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Evidence emerged of a sharp rise in the number of killings of transgender women following the June coup. Between 2004 and March 2009, human rights organizations had registered 17 cases of killings of transgender women. Between the end of June and December 2009, 12 such cases were reported by local human rights organizations. No data was available about investigations into these killings.

Honduras Newsroom

February 27, 2020 • Report

Countries cracked down on asylum and the right to protest in the Americas in 2019

As millions took to the streets to protest rampant violence, inequality, corruption and impunity, or were forced to flee their countries in search of safety, states across the Americas clamped …

September 25, 2019 • Press Release

New Honduras Agreement Could Be Deadly

Responding to reports of a cooperative agreement between the United States and Honduras, which would potentially force certain asylum-seekers to request asylum there, Charanya Krishnaswami, the advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, said:

September 20, 2019 • Press Release

Amnesty International to Participate in Hearings and Events at IACHR Sessions

Amnesty International will participate in public hearings on protests and security in Honduras and on limits of access to asylum in the United States, as well as side events on institutional violence and discrimination against women engaged in sex work in the Americas, and on women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Venezuela, during the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ 173rd Period of Sessions from September 23 to October 2 in Washington DC.

September 12, 2019 • Press Release

Trump Administration’s Asylum Ban Could be a Death Sentence for People Seeking Safety

Today, Amnesty International condemned the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the Trump administration’s asylum ban to temporarily proceed. Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, stated: …

March 5, 2018 • Press Release

Honduras: Arrest of DESA executive must be followed by further action against those behind the killing of Berta Cáceres

president of Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA), for his involvement in the killing of environmental human rights defender Berta Cáceres, Erika Guevara-Rosas, the director of Amnesty International in the Americas, said:

March 2, 2018 • Press Release

Honduras: Failure to identify those behind Berta Cáceres’ murder puts other activists at risk

The Honduran authorities’ failure to identify those who ordered the brutal murder of the environmental human rights defender Berta Cáceres and bring them to justice puts hundreds of human rights defenders at grave risk, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of her killing on 2 March.

December 8, 2017 • Press Release

Honduras: Government deploys dangerous and illegal tactics to silence population

The Honduran government is deploying dangerous and illegal tactics to silence any dissenting voices in the aftermath of one of the country’s worst political crisis in a decade, including preventing lawyers and human rights activists from visiting detained demonstrators, Amnesty International said after a visit to the country following contested presidential elections on November 26.

November 27, 2017 • Report

No Safe Place: LGBTI Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans Seeking Asylum in Mexico

The lives and safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) from violence-ridden El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are at an increased risk as authorities in their countries fail to protect them, leaving them with no choice but to flee their countries and face further dangers in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

April 25, 2017 • Press Release

Honduras: Historic opportunity to decriminalize abortion

Ahead of a debate in the Honduran congress today over the country’s criminalization of abortion, Amnesty International’s Americas Director Erika Guevara-Rosas said: “By criminalizing abortion, the Honduran Penal Code is …

October 19, 2016 • Press Release

Activists’ murders turn Honduras into no-go zone for environmental

The brutal murders of two land rights activists in Honduras last night are the latest tragedies in a seemingly unstoppable wave of deadly attacks turning Honduras into a no-go zone for human rights defenders, said Amnesty International.

URGENT: Children seeking asylum in the U.S. are being denied their human rights based on their nationality — help ensure that all girls and boys fleeing violence can seek safety.