Elections offer chance of turning point for country with world's highest murder rate.
Amnesty International issued a stark warning to the presidential candidates in the Honduran elections � commit to human rights now or risk deepening the country�s humanitarian crisis.
According to the United Nations, Honduras has the world�s highest homicide rate of 92 per 100,000. The country is also plagued by escalating levels of violence, insecurity and impunity. Human rights defenders are among those most at risk.
Amnesty wrote to all eight presidential candidates ahead of elections in November detailing the human rights crisis in the country and urging them to set out their commitment to human rights.
The letter asked them to commit to: comprehensive protection of human rights defenders; strengthening the justice system and the rule of law; eradicating impunity for human rights abuses; and ensuring justice and reparation for victims of human rights violations, in particular for those individuals and groups who are particularly vulnerable.
Before the elections, Amnesty�s Americas Deputy Programme Director, Guadalupe Marengo, said: �The human rights situation in Honduras is dire and the future of the country hangs in the balance.”
�These elections could mark a turning point, and the presidential candidates must commit to concrete changes to stop the widespread human rights abuses and violations perpetrated against the people of Honduras.”
�Those defending human rights face terrifying risks every day to carry out their vital work, in a society blighted by high levels of inequality, insecurity and impunity.”
�We are looking forward to seeing plans and proposals that prioritise the protection of human rights and those who defend them.”
�The Honduran people have a right to live their lives free from fear and threats and to count on state institutions to uphold their human rights. We hope that the presidential candidates will respond with the urgency that this situation merits. Human rights must be at the core of these elections and reflected in the plans proposed by all eight presidential candidates.� Amnesty International UK Press Release”
Juan Orlando Hern�ndez, of the ruling National party, was declared the winner with 37% of the votes, compared to 29% for Xiomara Castro of the new left wing party.