CAMY Fund project leader present in a hearing before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

 

In the context of the 161 Ordinary Period of Session of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) a civil society delegation from Honduras presented at a hearing on Friday, March 17 about the violence and human rights violations in the country.

Somos Muchas

Grecia Lozano, a young lawyer from Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM) and the Coordinator of the Somos Muchas (We are Many) Coalition, was among several representatives from civil society organizations that participated in the hearing before the Commission. CDM has been a grantee partner of the CAMY Fund since early 2016 and the creation of Somos Muchas as a coalition of feminist organizations united in promoting three exceptions for abortion within the penal code, is one of the most significant achievements of the project.

The civil society delegation before the Commission had the objective of presenting a general picture of the human rights situation in Honduras in light of the recommendations formulated by the Commission in their 2015 Country Report that found that, “the levels of violence recorded are the result of several factors, including the increased presence of organized crime and drug traffickers, the recruitment of children and adolescents, and an inadequate judicial response that fuels impunity, corruption and high levels of poverty and inequality.” (The full report can be found here).  CIDH

The points touched upon by the civil society organizations at the hearing included the concentration of power in the Executive Branch, the increase in militarization in the country, the lack of judicial independence and penal code reforms.

Specifically, Grecia addressed the recent changes to the current penal code, the lack of transparency in the construction of the new penal code and the negative response by the government to incorporating changes based on human rights standards. Included among her examples were that the draft penal code continues to fully penalize abortion, that it doesn’t explicitly recognize hate crimes and contains sections that limit freedom of expression and the right to protest. Grecia 1

In their response to the declarations made by both parts (civil society and the Honduran State), the Commissioners made several observations, requests and recommendations to the government. Of particular relevance to CDM and Somos Muchas was that they requested information on the State’s position on abortion and the continued prohibition on Emergency Contraception. (the full video of the hearing can be seen here). Grecia and colleagues at the Center for Reproductive Rights will follow-up on the Commissioners recommendations in the coming months.

CIDH 2The Honduran Congress has delayed the discussion of the new penal code since last year, instead prioritizing reforms to the current code instead of creating a general normative structure. The Commission charged with reviewing the penal code has announced the beginning of its debate cycle at the end of March. The hearing by the IACHR is a preamble to this review.

To have the eyes of the IACHR fixed on women’s issues, especially the decriminalization of abortion, is a reaffirmation of the work that the Somos Muchas Coalition has been carrying out in anticipation of the pending debate in Congress in the coming months.

We congratulate Grecia, CDM and the entire Somos Muchas Coalition for their important work to support Honduran women’s lives and liberty.