Armed Forces carry out a coup against Honduran democracy.

The Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) addresses the national and international communities, especially international human rights organisations, stating that fundamental rights have been violated in the following events:

    1. This morning, Sunday 28th June, the Armed Forces of Honduras kidnapped the Constitutional President of the Republic of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, imposing on the nation a coup d’etat which destroys the institutional structure of the Republic of Honduras of the last 27 years.

    2. The civilian society of Honduras mobilised spontaneously and independently to the Presidential House, and within the interior of the country to public squares, recognising Manuel Zelaya Rosales as the Constitutional President of Honduras, elected democratically by the vote of the Honduran people in November 2005.

    3. At this moment, all the rights recognised by both the Constitution of the State of Honduras and by international human rights treaties are being violated, including the right to Freedom of Information, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Organisation, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Movement, to Lawful Arrest, to Bail, the right to Private Property, and the Inviolability of the Home.

    Canal 8 of the State of Honduras has been shut down. The channel was taken by the military and the journalists who worked there were expelled. For several hours, the electricity supply has been suspended, also affecting Internet communication, leaving the Honduran public defenceless.

    Soldiers under the command of a colonel arrived at the cable company “Cablecolor”, which also provides Internet services to the country, and obliged their personnel to take CNN in Spanish and English off the air, which were transmitting the events taking place as a result of the coup d’etat.

    Recent reports from COFADEH detail that Radio Progreso was raided by a contingent of 25 soldiers who expelled personnel and obliged them to close down transmission completely. Radio Progreso transmits from the Noroccidental zone and the region of Litoral Atlántico. Radio Globo, Maya TV and Canal 36 have met with the same fate.

    It is suspected that David Romero Ellner, Eduardo Maldonado, journalists of these media, and director of Canal 36 Edras Amado López, have been detained, or that they have made their way to an embassy.

    Illegal detentions of several people have taken place, including government employees, such as the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Patricia Isabel Rodas, who was kidnapped by soldiers during a meeting with the ambassadors of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba. The foreign affairs minister was taken away in a military vehicle, and her whereabouts to date are unknown. Her husband was subjected to severe beatings by hooded soldiers.

    In this violent event, the ambassadors of Cuba, Juan Carlos Hernández, of Nicaragua, Mario Duarte, and of Venezuela, Ricardo Laguna Lagunas, were also beaten, in breach of Article 29 of the Vienna Convention, and showing Honduras as a backward state that disregards international law.

    Over the last few hours it has transpired that there are arrest warrants for 14 social leaders.

    4. The country is being militarised, generating a climate of fear among the people. This militarisation became obvious during the last few days when even the army reserves went out into the streets to hold a demonstration which was led by Romero Vásquez Velásquez, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Honduran Armed Forces, and the retired colonel Julio Armando Pavón, who in 1995 together with General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, the ex chief of that institution, took armoured cars and anti-aircraft guns into the streets to intimidate judges and public prosecutors at a time in which trials were beginning against a score of officers who had committed human rights violations.

    5. We reiterate that what has occurred in Honduras is a violent military coup d’etat although disguised six hours later as a technical coup, naming as head of state the current President of National Congress, Roberto Micheletti Bain.

    This appointment is only recognised by the groups that initiated the coup. The Honduran public continues demanding the return of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and is without an official representative of the State of Honduras in human rights matters or public prosecutors of human rights.

    Once the group supporting Micheletti Bain had him named and sworn in, his first act was to establish a 48 hour curfew, in this way suspending all the Constitutional Guarantees; these actions were praised by the National Commissioner of Human Rights.

    6. COFADEH firmly condemns all these actions and asks the international community not to recognise as president this violator of the Constitutional Guarantees.

    We urge the international community to remain alert to the situation in Honduras with regards to human rights, especially with respect to the personal safety of social leaders and government employees.

Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) Tegucigalpa 28th June 2009

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