“Most Dangerous Country” may be the least desirable title in the world and yet the one that Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala often battle for, leading to thousands of people from Central America’s northern triangle seeking refuge in other countries, including the United States. Aid being provided to those countries has focused almost solely on security, not on strengthening the rule of law and thus human rights, the weaknesses that make these countries vulnerable to violence.
Freedom House yesterday released its annual Freedom of the Press report. The findings paint a grim picture of the state of global media freedom, with just 14 percent of the world’s population enjoying a vibrant press with diverse views and minimal state intrusion.
The murder of Honduran Judge Mireya Efigenia Mendoza Pena is another tragic reminder of the serious violence affecting the country, as judges and other legal professionals face reprisals for their work. Mendoza is the 64th legal professional who has been killed in Honduras since 2010. Freedom House calls on the Honduran government to take the necessary measures to ensure judges are protected from threats, intimidation, aggression and other forms of violence, so as to ensure the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
The environment for press freedom has deteriorated in Honduras in large part due to a violent and unstable climate, observed Viviana Giacaman, director for Latin America programs, in her testimony before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on July 25th.
Freedom of Expression, Human Rights Defense, Media Freedom, Rule of Law, U.S. Foreign Policy