Children's rights defender in Honduras beaten, detained
The Director of Casa Alianza Honduras, a children’s rights organization, was beaten and detained by military police on 8 May. He believes his mistreatment was in retaliation for speaking out against violence against children in Honduras and denouncing government inaction on the matter.
Late in the evening on 8 May, José Guadalupe Ruelas, director of the children’s charity Casa Alianza in Honduras, was driving the organization’s car and wearing clothes with the organization’s markings, when he was signalled to stop at a military police checkpoint in front of the presidential residence in Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa. José Guadalupe Ruelas says his car was stationary when a policeman on a motorbike collided with it. He stated that he was pulled out of the car by military police and beaten in the face, head, ribs and legs. He was then pulled by the legs face down and kicked.
The police also took José Guadalupe Ruelas’ belongings, including a laptop, before bringing him to a police station. When local human rights organizations intervened, José Guadalupe Ruelas was taken to hospital for check-ups, where he remained under police custody until late on 9 May.
José Guadalupe Ruelas believes that his mistreatment was in retaliation for speaking out against the government. In April, he presented a report denouncing the high levels of killings of children and young people in the country, with at least 270 violent deaths of people under the age of 23 occurring in the first four months of 2014. Ruelas wrote “there is an emerging pattern of organized people with access to expensive vehicles, weapons and equipment, who kidnap, torture and kill poor children and youths, in almost total impunity”. In May, after the discovery of the dismembered bodies of four children, José Guadalupe Ruelas was interviewed by the media and said that none of the numerous Honduran laws aimed at protecting children were being implemented by the government due to corruption and impunity.
Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to investigate the ill-treatment of José Guadalupe Ruelas, bring those responsible to justice and send a clear message that torture and ill-treatment will not be tolerated;
- Urging them to take immediate steps to provide appropriate protection to José Guadalupe Ruelas, his family, and other members of Casa Alianza, in strict accordance with their wishes;
- Calling on them to establish a protection mechanism for human rights defenders and journalists following consultation with civil society in accordance with their recommendations and needs.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 JUNE 2014 TO:
Oscar Chinchilla Banegas
Ministerio Público, Lomas del Guijarro
Avenida República Dominicana
Edificio Lomas Plaza II
Fax: +504 2221 5667
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/ Señor Fiscal General
Minister of Interior
Sr. Arturo Corrales
Secretaría de Estado en el Despacho de Seguridad
Aldea el Ocotal, Antiguo Local de la Academia Nacional de Policia ANAPO
alutation: Señor Ministro del Interior/ Dear Minister of Interior
And copies to:
Central America team
His Excellency Mr. Ivan Romero-Martinez
Embassy of Honduras
115 Gloucester Place
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