Safety of civil society activists involved in police reform must be guaranteed and threats investigated
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, strongly condemns recent intimidation attempts against members and advisors of the Special Commission for the Restructuring and Purging of the National Police and calls on the government of Honduras to take urgent steps to protect civil society members of the commission.
Civil society representatives taking part in the police reform initiative, including Transparency International’s national chapter in Honduras the Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa, have been faced with numerous threats and attempts of intimidation since the commission was established less than two months ago. The commissioners were profiled; their families followed by pick-up trucks without license plates; their homes watched and investigated; and an anonymous threat was placed at the entrance of a house.
“The government must take responsibility to ensure the protection of everyone involved in the police reform initiative and investigate who is behind the threats. We have seen too many brave activists murdered in Honduras in the past, including the high-profile case of Berta Cáceres three months ago. This must never happen again. Ensuring the safety of civil society activists is paramount,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
The Special Commission for the Restructuring and Purging of the National Police has achieved significant progress in cleaning up the police force, where corruption is rampant, in a country with one of the highest levels of homicides around the world. So far, 68 police officers of a total of 164 reviewed have been dismissed, including five generals, 27 commissioners, and 36 sub-commissioners.
“The important work of the commission must continue despite the intimidations. We urge the government not to shy away from the vital police reform they have initiated. Those who are trying to scare civil society are wasting their time. We are ever-more committed to work for a better future of our countries,” said Ugaz.
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