For immediate release:
November 19, 2013
Contact: Tasha Moro, Communications Coordinator | email@example.com | (212) 679-5100, ext.15
Azadeh Shahshahani, President | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Sullivan, NLG Attorney | 504-9701-6626
New York—On Sunday, November 24, 2013, a delegation of 18 members of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) will serve as official international “accompaniers” to observe the presidential elections in Honduras.
In June 2009, the Honduran military kidnapped and physically removed President Manuel (“Mel”) Zelaya to Costa Rica, with the implicit support of the U.S. government. The coup triggered a crisis in Latin America and the Organization of American States (OAS) ejected Honduras from its membership (the OAS readmitted Honduras in 2011). Opponents to the coup formed a new political party in Honduras, the LIBRE Party.
Since then, human rights organizations have documented numerous killings – of LIBRE and other party candidates and activists, lawyers and judges, peasants associated with cooperative movements, journalists, and LGBTI persons. Several U.S. Congress members have expressed concern about this growing human rights crisis in letters to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Given the recent repression against political activists and the role the U.S. has historically played in Honduras, the NLG delegation hopes that its presence will help ensure free and fair elections in the country; if not, it will document where the process fell short.
The NLG delegation will be meeting with the U.S. Ambassador and members of the current government and opposition parties, as well as legal teams involved in the defense and prosecution of human rights advocates and activists throughout the country. After the elections, the delegation will report on its findings.
Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.