El Salvador and Honduras remain rotten places for (women) human rights defenders

December 21, 2015

Two cases of women human rights defenders in Central America as reported by Front Line Defenders.Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

El Salvador 

  • Bertha de Leon and Teresa Naves are human rights lawyers working for the Study Foundation for the Application of the Law ( Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicacion del Derecho – FESPAD). FESPAD is a Salvadoran non-governmental organisation that works for the protection and promotion of human rights through providing legal support. The organisation fights for the promotion of human dignity, freedom and equality, and the development of a more democratic society. On 18 November 2015 Ms Teresa Naves reported that an unidentified man had been following her since 7 November 2015 and that in some occasions the man would even aim a laser pointer directly to her face in order to further intimidate her. Prior to that, on 17 November 2015, at approximately 9:30am, the human rights defender received a threatening phone call on her landline number. Fellow human rights lawyer Bertha de Leon was also subjected to intimidatory acts. The human rights defender was followed and chased by an unidentified vehicle on 10 and 12 November 2015. Both HRDs have also been victims of judicial harassment… The human rights lawyers are currently working on the criminal law suit that was brought by FESPAD against former president Francisco Guillermo Flores Pérez. The preliminary hearing took place on 5 and 6 November 2015, immediately before the intimidatory acts against the HRDs started. FESPAD charges Mr Pérez with embezzlement, illicit enrichment and disobedience for having allegedly stolen 15 million US dollars donated by the Government of Taiwan to El Salvador to help the victims of the 2001 earthquakes, and to help fight poverty. [El Salvador: Intimidation, threats and judicial harassment against human rights lawyers Bertha de Leon and Teresa Naves | AWID]
  • see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/im-defensoras-women-human-rights-defenders-in-central-america-support-each-other/



  • On 1 October 2015, the human rights organisation Asociación para una Ciudadanía Participativa – ACI Participa (Association for a Participative Citizenry) publicly denounced the hacking of their institutional email address, as well as the deletion of files and contacts, by unknown persons. ACI Participa promotes citizen participation in decision-making of public interest, as well as the knowledge and exercise of their rights by citizens, through support to other organisations. It also urges governmental institutions to act under the principles of social equality and to transparently administer their resources. On 22 September 2015, the institutional email address of ACI Participa was hacked and the culprits managed to obtain and delete all the contacts of the organisation, as well as its files, folders and records of emails sent and received. In early 2012, the Law on the Intervention of Private Communications entered into force in Honduras, legalising the practice, carried out for years by police and military intelligence, of spying on correspondence and listening to telephone calls of social organisations and political opposition. Although the Penal Code calls for sufficient evidence of culpability before communications can be intercepted, this is commonly overlooked.
  • On 28 September 2015, unidentified men attempted to run over human rights defender Ms Dina Meza. The human rights defender was also the subject of a verbal attack by the two men. The intimidatory event follows months of threats and intimidation against Dina Meza, detailed below. Dina Meza is a human rights defender and journalist. She works with the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras – COFADEH (Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras), as well as being active in movements in defence of rights of women and campesinos (peasants). She has also worked on radio programmes for COFADEH and for the Women’s  Movement for Peace “Padilla Visitation. The incident on 28 September 2015 is the latest in a series of acts of intimidation and threats against Dina Meza as a result of her human rights work, including constant surveillance, intimidatory phone calls, digital attacks and sabotage to her vehicle.

see also: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/honduras-one-of-the-worst-places-to-be-a-human-rights-defender/

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