Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, strongly condemns the killing of Geovany Rolando Calderón during an assassination attempt on Jorge Machado, a Board Member of Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa, Transparency International’s national chapter in Honduras, and a member of the Special Commission for the Restructuring and Purging of the National Police.
In the evening of 15 December, as Jorge Machado and his wife were on their way home, shots were fired at their car from a van. Two bodyguards travelling with them were hit by the bullets and taken to hospital. The military police officer Calderón died from his wounds. The second bodyguard Ricardo Mauricio Chavarria remains in hospital in serious condition.
“Our deepest sympathy goes to the family of Geovany Rolando Calderón and we hope sincerely that Ricardo Mauricio Chavarria recovers. This murder and assassination attempt need to be investigated with urgency to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent further violence against civil society members,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
“The members of the police reform commission have faced death threats since the commission was established in April this year. This is unacceptable. The government must redouble its efforts to protect anti-corruption activists,” said Ugaz.
Honduras has one of the highest levels of homicides around the world and corruption in the police force is rampant.
The Special Commission for the Restructuring and Purging of the National Police has achieved significant progress in cleaning up the police force. The commission has dismissed over 2000 police staff from top level generals to lower ranking officers since its establishment, 500 of them this week.
“The success of the commission is vital for the future of Honduras. Civil society will not let itself be intimidated. The intimidation attempts merely show that the corrupt fear us. More now than ever, our priority is cleaning up the corrupt elements in the police force,” said Ugaz.
This is not the first assassination attempt on a member of Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa. This month was the ten-year anniversary of the killing of Dionisio Díaz García, a labour rights lawyer, who was murdered on 4 December 2006 as he drove to the Supreme Court to represent a group of security guards who had been unfairly fired.
Note to editors: Click here for Transparency International’s press release from 2 June 2016 about threats against Honduran civil society activists involved in police reform.
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