Urgent Action Update: JAILED WATER DEFENDERS WITH COVID-19 (Honduras: UA 133.20)

March 19, 2021

On March 12, 2021, local authorities in Honduras confirmed that José Daniel Márquez Márquez, one of eight members of the Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Assets (CMDBCP, in Spanish) tested positive for COVID-19. Márquez Márquez, shared the same cell with seven of the eight imprisoned defenders. Earlier this year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that their detention is arbitrary and asked for their immediate release. Authorities should review the detention of all eight defenders and take all necessary measures to immediately release them.



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Mr. Oscar Fernando Chinchilla
Attorney General
Posta Edificio Lomas Plaza II,
Col. Lomas del Guijarro,
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @MP_Honduras / @ofchb
Ambassador Luis Fernando Suazo
Embassy of Honduras
1220 19th Street, NW, Suite #320
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202 699 7702
Twitter: @EmbHondurasUSA @LuisFSuazo
Facebook: @EmbHondurasUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


Dear Attorney General,

I am writing to express my grave concern for the life and integrity of José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbín Nahúm Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán, Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz and Jeremías Martínez Díaz, members of Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Assets (CMDBCP in Spanish). They defend the Guapinol river in Northern Honduras and have been deprived of their liberty for over 18 months. Amnesty International received reports confirming that José Daniel Márquez Márquez recently tested positive for COVID-19. He has been isolated, but the other defenders continue at risk of contracting the disease.

On February 9, 2021, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared that the detention of the eight imprisoned defenders is arbitrary and asked for their immediate release. Previously, United Nations human rights experts recommended all states to consider alternatives to imprisonment, to reduce risks of spreading COVID–19, particularly for persons in pretrial detention or detained without legal basis.

I urge you to immediately review the situation of the eight defenders who have been unfairly deprived of liberty for over 18 months, and to take all necessary measures to immediately release them, in compliance with the recommendations of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and in order to guarantee their right to life, health, liberty, freedom of expression and right to defend human rights.