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Honduras overview

Accountability for Human Rights Violations committed in the context of the 2017 elections in Honduras: Progress and Challenges
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OHCHR in Honduras

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The mandate of the Office in Honduras is to monitor and report on the human rights situation in the country, provide technical assistance to the Government, and advise State institutions and civil society to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights.


Type of engagement
Country Office
Year established
2015
Field offices
Tegucigalpa
Number of staff
33
Annual budget needs
US$ 6,271,000

Achievements

  • The Honduras Office is considered by a large number of stakeholders to be a reference and a leading and credible voice on human rights matters in the country, providing reliable and objective information on a variety of human rights issues including in its annual report to the Human Rights Council and thematic reports. The Honduras Office also increased community awareness of human rights thanks to its active and strategic use of the public voice as well as by producing public information campaigns.
  • The Honduras Office strengthened its capacities for monitoring and technical assistance, early warning and response strategies in order to address several crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and tropical storms, with specific focus on the inclusion of all people in vulnerable situations. This has allowed the Office to intervene more expeditiously with the authorities and to propose technical assistance tailored to human rights and humanitarian needs. OHCHR's monitoring and early actions enabled the Office to take swift actions to contribute to the protection of people at risk and contributed to preventing the repetition of serious human rights violations.
  • The Honduras Office has established an alliance with the Ministry for Human Rights, which consists in a technical cooperation strategy on topics that are of interest to both institutions: human rights defenders, business and human rights, public policies, human rights education and internally displaced people. An important achievement was the establishment of a digital platform that gathers international recommendations addressed to Honduras (SIMOREH, by its acronym in Spanish).
  • The Honduras Office's continuous support to the National Human Rights Institution (CONADEH, by its acronym in Spanish) and the National Commission for the Prevention of Torture (CONAPREV, by its acronym in Spanish) has contributed to their institutional strengthening and increased their ability to conduct independent monitoring.
  • As part of its strategy to support institutional strengthening, the Office in Honduras has established cooperation agreements both with the Attorney General`s Office and the Supreme Court of Justice in order to strengthen their capacity to prosecute and investigate human rights violations and related crimes and improve access to justice for victims. Moreover, OHCHR and the Ministries of Human Rights and Security established a high-level mechanism on security and human rights to advance on technical cooperation on the subject.
  • The Office has played a crucial role in preventing social conflict, monitoring protests and collecting reliable information on related human rights violations and abuses, especially during the 2017 post-electoral crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. The Office is using this information to promote access to justice for the victims and fight against impunity, as well as to advocate for the adoption of necessary legislative and policy reforms.
  • The Honduras Office has played a critical role building trust and enabling dialogue among a deeply divided civil society, which has resulted in better articulation of their work. The Office has contributed to increasing the capacity of civil society organizations to promote and protect human rights and to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms. This includes efforts to increase the capacity of women's rights and LGBTI organizations to defend the rights of women and members of the LGBTI community in Honduras and to advocate for more gender-sensitive legislation and policies, including with the Congress.
  • The Honduras Office has contributed to provide visibility and legitimacy to the work of human rights defenders, ultimately contributing to improving their protection. The Office has been monitoring and following up on threats, attacks, including killings, and the criminalization of human rights defenders. It has also contributed to strengthening the National Mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists, media workers and justice system actors, including through the establishment of specific protocols to improve the risk assessment process. The Office is in constant dialogue and coordinates its activities with a wide network of national human rights organizations and human rights defenders.
  • In the area of human mobility, the Honduras Office's work has contributed to increasing cooperation and articulation with other OHCHR Offices in the region, as well as with IOM, UNHCR, CONADEH, civil society organizations, State authorities and other relevant actors. The Honduras Office's holistic and human rights-based approach to migration, which includes access to justice and the monitoring of migrants in transit and returnees, has contributed to placing the human rights of migrants, refugees, returnees and internally displaced people on the agenda of State authorities.
  • In March 2020, the Honduras Office adopted a strategy to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic placing human rights at the heart of the response. This strategy is focused on ensuring access to economic, social and cultural rights of the most vulnerable people, promoting the rule of law and accountability, enhancing the civic space, especially the work of human rights defenders and journalists, and providing support to address the impact of COVID-19 on women. In this context, the Office provided technical assistance to the Ministries of Human Rights, Development and Social Inclusion, Gender and Women Rights, Security and Labour, inter alia, as well as to Judicial Sector, the NHRI and Congress. The Office also continued to support civil society organizations, opening spaces for civic participation.
  • The Honduras Office has strengthened and adapted its Rule of Law strategy to include the impact in the context of the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. OHCHR provided technical assistance resulting in the modification of the decree of the state of emergency during the COVID-19 crisis to comply with human rights standards. Additionally, the Office developed advocacy actions with the judiciary to enable the publicity of hearings in emblematic cases through network broadcasting and to allow the participation of victims and their legal representatives. Furthermore, the Office initiated a technical cooperation strategy with the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and advocated with the authorities for the adoption and implementation of measures based on human rights criteria for the reduction of the prison population during the COVID-19 crisis, with a special emphasis on persons in pre-trial detention and human rights defenders deprived of their liberty.
  • As part of OHCHR's response strategy to the COVID-19 crisis, the Honduras Office implemented strategic actions that have contributed to promote the guarantee of the economic, social and cultural rights of people in vulnerable situations. The Office and several governmental institutions established a high-level articulation mechanism where, based on information collected through OHCHR's monitoring system, the Office provides technical assistance and proposes measures for the State to adopt to better respect, protect and fulfil economic and social rights of the most vulnerable people. Moreover, the Office advocated for the inclusion of actions to protect the needs and socio-economic rights of people in a vulnerable situation and to place socio-economic rights at the center of the UN socio-economic response plan for the COVID-19 crisis and all phases of the early recovery in Honduras.
  • The Office set up an emergency response strategy, to monitor the human rights situation caused by recurrent tropical storms and hurricanes, and to promote actions to ensure human rights are placed at the heart of the humanitarian response. Moreover, OHCHR Honduras advocated for a human rights-based approach to humanitarian support that prioritizes people in the most vulnerable situation, leaving no one behind.

Partners and Donors

Partners: UN agencies, international and regional organizations, National Human Rights Institution, Government of Honduras, National Congress of Honduras, National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, Supreme Court of Justice, Attorney`s General Office, civil society organizations, human rights defenders, private sector, trade unions.

Donors: Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, and the MPTF/PBF.

UN Human Rights Focus Areas


Thematic pillars
  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Participation: Enhancing & protecting civic space and people’s participation
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
  • Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
  • Peace and Security: Preventing violations and strengthening protection of human rights, including in situations of conflict and insecurity
Shifts
  • Global constituency
  • Civic space
  • Inequalities
  • Corruption
  • Prevention
Spotlight populations
  • Women

Last reviewed: November 2020




Contact Information

Headquarters

Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD)
Contact is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Americas Section
Tel. + 41 22 917 92 48

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