Inicia Proyecto PASCA

El proyecto es liderado por la REDLAD con el respaldo de más organizaciones con presencia subregional en el continente.

Comité de Coordinadores Generales y Directora Ejecutiva

Reunión de Fortalecimiento del Comité de Coordinación realizada en febrero 2016.

Dialogo con candidatos a Relatores CIDH

En el marco de la Asamblea de OEA realizada en Paraguay.

Taller con Pueblos originaros

Preparación para la Cumbre de las Américas

27 de julio de 2016

Reporte 1 - Honduras

Civic Space Monitor
Reporte #1
Honduras
2016-07-06

Freedom of Association:
Social activists in Honduras have been suffering from attacks and harassment which is considerably constraining freedom of association in the country. Activists who face more threats are those who work for land and environmental rights. On December 31st, 2015, the IACHR presented the report on Human Rights in Honduras (http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/informes/pdfs/Honduras-es-2015.pdf). In the report they ask Honduras’ government to follow the IACHR recommendations of protecting social activists. Nevertheless, Honduras’ government answered the recommendations (http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/docs/anual/2015/doc-es/HO-Observaciones2015.pdf) stating that on May, 2015 was introduced a new law that creates the Protection System for Human Rights Defenders. Under this law, according to Honduras’ government, four activists are now under State’s protection.

The most widespread case was the murder of social activist Berta Caceres on March 2nd, 2016, even though she was under State protection ordered by the IACHR.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly:
The use of police force has been constant during protests in Honduras. On November, 2015, during the No Violence Against Women Day, a group of women were peacefully protesting outside the President’s office when they were repressed and attacked by police forces. On May 10th, 2016, a group of indigenous were violently repressed outside the President’s office after they gathered to demand the government an investigation following Berta Caceres’ murder. On June 9th, students were repressed by police forces who used tear gas and water tanks.

Freedom of expression:
The Committee for Free Expression reported (http://www.clibrehonduras.com/content/informe-sobre-el-estado-de-impunidad-en-agresiones-contra-periodistas-y-trabajadoresas-de) that 2015 was the year where more journalists were killed since 2003. 12 journalists were killed last year. There have been 3 sentences out of 58 murders that are being investigated. On the other hand, in Honduras, defamation cases are considered a criminal offense which are punished with time in jail. This causes that politicians, business men, and any other person who is subject to criticism, threats the journalists with suing them which harms freedom of expression.

Reporters Without Borders placed Honduras 137 out of 180 countries in the Freedom of Press Report 2016. Compared to last year, Honduras lost 5 places in ranking which reflects the worsening situation.

Reporte 1 - Guatemala

Freedom of association:
Guatemala’s Constitution protects freedom of association. Nevertheless, consulted actors of civil society reported that this freedom has been recently threatened specially on the country side for those organisations who work for environmental topics. On July, 2015, Freedom House reported that shots were fired outside the offices of a CSO who had been conducting investigations against a mining company.

On March 16th, 2016, Mauro Vay, leader of Comité de Desarrollo Campesino, a farmers’ organisation, was sentenced to three years in jail after allegedly promoting illegal power connections in his community. Vay’s lawyer reported that this sentence happened because of his client activities promoting the nationalization of the power company.

On June 8th, Diego Choc Pop, a representative of Comité Campesino del Altiplano, was murdered. His murder came after a series of threats he received for his work on trying to protect peasants’ land rights.

The Worldwide Human Rights Movement requested Guatemala’s authorities to investigate the murders of Diego Choc Pop and other land rights activists like Walter Manfredo Mendez, Rigoberto Lima Choc, and Sebastián Córdova who were killed between 3 to 9 months before Diego Choc.

Freedom of peaceful assembly:
During the last year, transparency has been the main point of protests in Guatemala following former president Otto Perez Molina corruption scandal.

Consulted actors of civil society assured that protests conducted in Guatemala City had no inconvenient and police forces successfully protected the protests. Protests were even supported by the private sector with companies like Domino’s, Mc Donald’s, and Dunking Doughnuts.

The most recent national protest on the country side took place on May 11th. Farmers, who were demanding land and nationalization of natural resources, blocked 29 main roads in the country. Repression was not reported.

Freedom of expression:
There are important restrictions for freedom of expression in Guatemala. On the free press report 2016, Reporters Without Borders gave the country the second worst score (difficult situation). On this report, the country is placed 121 of 180 countries.

Freedom House Freedom of Press Report (2016) classified Guatemala’s press as partly free on a Free – Partly Free – Not Free scale.

During 2016, at least 7 journalists from local and independent media have been killed in Guatemala. On March 23rd, UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, condemned the murder of Guatemalan journalist Mario Roberto Salazar.

On June 22nd, the World Organisation Against Torture warned about the situation that journalists are living in Guatemala. They condemned the murder of Victor Hugo Valdés and Diego Salomón Esteban Gaspar, so as the robbery of Angel Martin Tax’s house. The Organisation made a call to Guatemalan authorities to investigate these cases and to protect other journalists and actors of civil society whose lives might be threatened.

Links:
Civil Society:




Prensa:




Reporte 1 - Costa Rica

Civic Space Monitor
Reporte #1
Costa Rica
2016-07-06

Freedom of association:

The government of Costa Rica is working to strengthen cooperation with CSO. Through the “Government and Civil Society Collaboration for Open Government Project” (http://fundacionparalasamericas.org/democracia-gobernabilidad/convocatoria-cr-gob-abierto/), presented in April 2016 in collaboration with The Trust for the Americas, the government will finance CSO who develop projects related with open government, access to public information, accountability, or technological innovation. 12 projects will be financed with 5,000 USD each. The application process was public and available online to ensure transparency along the process and with the funds’ destination.

Consulted actors of civil society in Costa Rica assured that there are no constraints to the freedom of association and in order to create an organization it is enough to follow the steps stated on the Article 5 from the Act 218 of Associations (http://www.imas.go.cr/ayuda_social/ibs/IBS%20-%20Ley%20218%20-%20Ley%20de%20Asociaciones.pdf).

Freedom of peaceful assembly:
During the last six months, three major protests took place in Costa Rica. These were related with environmental issues, public workers’ rights and against mobility solutions like Uber. None of these protests reported the use of public force. The procedure to organize a peaceful protest in Costa Rica remains quite simple and the organizers only need to notify the Town Hall.

Freedom of expression:
In the last year there were no cases of attacks/harassment against social media. Nevertheless, Costa Rica’s government continues to develop programs to improve freedom of expression in the country. In early 2016, the government presented three draft laws which were aiming to improve freedom of expression, ensure access to public information, and transparency in a request for tenders for official advertising.

On the Free Press Report 2016, Reporters Without Borders placed Costa Rica 6th over 180 countries. The country improved its position by 10 places after being placed 16th on 2015. Reporters Without Borders wrote about Costa Rica: “The Latin American country with the best record on respecting human rights and free expression" (RSF, 2016).

Still, on May 3rd (World Freedom Press Day), UNESCO office for Central America, asked Costa Rica to start training young people on ICT as a tool to improve freedom of expression and democratizing public information.

Links:
Official links:








Press links:




Civil Society reports:

Reporte 1 - Venezuela


Freedom of association:

Freedom of association is being seriously threatened by the Venezuelan government. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern on a press release from June 1st, 2016 following the declaration of a “State of Exception and Economic Emergency” in Venezuela. The decree released by the government states that funding for civil society organizations can be restricted when it is used to pursue political goals that might destabilize the country. This leaves a grey area that government can use to restrict freedom of association.

On the other hand, during an interview conducted by REDLAD to a leader of an CSO, he stated that, even though the government is consistently restricting freedom of association, civil society has come together to work for common demands like democracy or transparency. This is creating a more unified civil society that is slowly opening civic space in Venezuela.

Freedom of peaceful assembly:
Venezuelan government has been systematically oppressing civil society protests using both counter-protests and police force. IACHR expressed its rejection against the government repression of a protest that took place on June 2nd, 2016 of people that were demanding the government to end the lack of food on the country. Police repression included the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters who used looting as a form of showing rejection to the situation of the country.

Following these protests, on June 14th, another series of protests demanding the same issues took place. This protests were also repressed by police officers and two people were reported dead.

Government decision to repress protests has been left clear after Zulia’s Secretary of Security and Public Order declared that they won’t doubt in repress any protest that pursue political objectives.

Freedom of expression:
Journalists and actors of civil society are at high-risk in Venezuela. On January 19th, 2016, journalist Ricardo Duran was murdered in Venezuela’s capital, Caracas. Police investigations showed that none of his personal belongings were stolen following his murder. The case is still open but journalists state that it was because of his work as a reporter.

On March 11th, the Sixth Criminal Trial Court for the State of Bolivar, convicted David Natera Febres, from Correo del Caroní newspaper, for defamation offenses against a State’s contractor. The sentence was based on a 2013 article from Natera Febres who reported a case of extortion and bribery from the Military Counterintelligence Bureau.

During the protests on June 2nd, journalists reported that police officers took their filming materials and cellphones after they identified that they were covering the repression against protesters. Other ways in which Venezuelan government restricts freedom of expression include fines against media and restricting operation of broadcasting companies like NTN24.

Links
Press notes:

Official documents:
http://www.radiomundial.com.ve/sites/default/files//Gaceta%20Oficial%20Extraordinaria%20Nº%206.227.pdf