Following a number of murders of human rights defenders and journalists in Honduras, Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (21 July):
I was deeply shocked to learn that Scarleth Cambell, a member of the LGTBI organisation Asociación Arcoíris, and Marvin Damian Castro Molina, a member of the human rights and environmental movement MASSvida, have been murdered. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims. I fully support the declarations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Tegucigalpa and call on the Honduran authorities to do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice.
I am no less shocked by the murder of two journalists, German Vallecillo and Jorge Posas, in La Ceíba in early July. It is horrific that people who are campaigning for tolerance and the rights of others, or who as journalists scrutinise political and social realities, are being abducted and killed – especially considering that now during the COVID-19 pandemic society should be taking a united stand. I therefore call on the Government of Honduras to effectively protect the right to life and physical integrity and to safeguard civil society’s scope for action. This applies equally to internet reporters like Milton Benítez, whose office was ransacked in early July. A vibrant democracy needs an active and critical civil society, as well as a free press.
I also call on the Honduran authorities to vigorously investigate the abduction of Alberth Sneider Centeno, an activist for the rights of the Garífuna people, and of three other socially engaged residents of Triunfo de la Cruz.
LGTBI activist Scarleth Cambell was shot and killed in the middle of the street on 10 July. The human rights defender Marvin Damian Castro Molina was found dead on 13 July after he had been abducted one day earlier. The organisations of which Ms Cambell and Mr Castro were active members are valued partners of German NGOs.
Alberth Sneider Centeno, a member of the NGO OFRANEH, which fights for indigenous and women’s rights and for environmental protection, was violently abducted on 18 July along with three other inhabitants of his village.