Honduras: Amid evidence of election fraud, police cracks down on peaceful protesters

The ITUC has condemned the use of violence by state forces in Honduras against its own citizens in the aftermath of the presidential elections.

The Central American country went to the polls on 26 November amid a string of controversies and complaints of electoral fraud.

Partial results announced on the night of 26 November showed opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla leading by almost five percentage points over Juan Orlando Hernández, the sitting president seeking reelection. Votes were very slowly counted over the coming days until a computer malfunction shut down the election tribunal’s computer for more than 36 hours. When the system was restored, Hernández had suddenly passed Nasralla to take the lead.

The clear evidence of interference in the counting process led hundreds of thousands of citizens to take to the streets in protest. In response, the government has imposed a state of exception, curtailing civil liberties. Along with this measure, there have been widespread reports of human rights abuses, including the use of live ammunition by military personnel, summary detentions and deportation of journalists. At least 11 people are said to have been killed in the past weeks.

“The Honduran population is outraged,” said Joel Almendares, General Secretary of the Unitary Confederation of Workers of Honduras (CUT-H). “The violent repression against the protests by the military police, which has even shot directly at the demonstrators, has caused dozens of injuries and many deaths."

“Since the coup d’état in 2009, Honduras has plunged into a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. Unionists, environmentalists and indigenous peoples have been on the front line on the fight to restore democracy and, consequently, have been subjected to extreme acts of violence,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC.

“We urge the Honduran government to immediately suspend violent attacks on citizens exercising their constitutional and natural rights to peaceful protest. Honduras must institute a transparent vote recounting process to resolve the electoral impasse, as called for by the EU observers, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and other international actors.”