Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 1, 2011

Question: Did the Secretary receive a letter from the Hill voicing concerns of human rights abuse in Honduras? Is this particularly worrisome as they are getting ready to rejoin the OAS?

Answer: We have received this letter and appreciate the concerns expressed by members of Congress. Encouraging respect for human rights has been and will continue to be one of the highest priorities for the United States. We welcome President Porfirio Lobo’s strong commitment to strengthen respect for human rights and the concrete steps his government has taken to advance that goal, as exemplified by the creation of a Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. The United States will continue to work with the Lobo government to promote greater respect for human rights in Honduras.

The U.S. Government believes the suspension of Honduras’ participation in the OAS should be immediately lifted. Honduras was suspended from the OAS because of a breach in the constitutional order. That problem has been resolved.

We remain concerned about reports of continued violence, threats, and intimidation of human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and the LGBT community. The U.S. Government believes that participation in the OAS would enable Honduras to benefit fully from the OAS capacity to promote human rights and good governance. Honduras’ reintegration will allow the OAS to help improve the human rights situation. In addition, the OAS General Assembly next week will address citizen security, a critical issue for Honduras, which is struggling to reverse a soaring crime rate and the infiltration of drug trafficking organizations. We have closely monitored the Lobo government’s response to protests, while recognizing its right to maintain public order and respond to violence directed at law enforcement personnel.

PRN: 2011/872