Honduras 2012 Human Rights Report

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Honduras is a constitutional, multiparty republic. Following November 2009 elections, which international observers generally recognized as free and fair, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo assumed the presidency in January 2010 and formed a government of national unity including all five registered political parties. Security forces reported to civilian authorities, but there were instances in which elements within the security forces acted independently of civilian control. Among the most serious human rights problems were unlawful and arbitrary killings by police and others, corruption and institutional weakness of the justice system, and harsh and at times life-threatening prison conditions. There continued to be reports of killings in the Bajo Aguan region of agricultural workers, bystanders, private security guards, and security forces related to land disputes, organized crime, and other factors. Other human rights problems included violence against detainees; lengthy pretrial detentions and failure to provide due process of law; harassment of journalists; corruption in government; violence against and harassment of women; child prostitution and abuse; trafficking in persons; encroachment on indigenous lands and discrimination against indigenous and Afro-descendent communities; violence against and harassment of LGBT persons; ineffective enforcement of labor laws; and child labor. The government took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses. However, corruption and impunity were serious problems that impeded the effectiveness of the National Police. Organized criminal elements were significant perpetrators of violent crimes in the country and committed acts of murder, extortion, kidnapping, torture, human trafficking, and intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders.

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