[URBANTH-L]Violence against Universities and Research Centers in Honduras

Adrienne Pine pine at american.edu
Tue Aug 11 11:48:47 EDT 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Following the military coup that ousted constitutional president  
Manuel Zelaya on June 28th, 2009, the de facto regime has committed  
countless violations of human rights, including assassinations,  
torture, and disappearances. Facing near-universal international  
condemnation as well as a growing internal movement of Hondurans  
demanding democracy, the de facto regime has turned increasingly  
repressive. On Wednesday, August 5th, riot police attacked students  
peacefully protesting at the national university (UNAH) with teargas,  
gunshots, and batons, and beat faculty and administrators who  
attempted to negotiate, including Rector (Chancellor) Julieta  
Castellanos. Pictures can be seen here: http://quotha.net/node/192

Please consider signing on to the below petition at http://honduraspetitionagainstviolence.blogspot.com/

Adrienne Pine
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
American University

Friday, August 7, 2009
Petition Against Violence Directed at Universities and Research  
Centers in Honduras

The undersigned, researchers, university faculty, administrators, and  
students, from a wide range of US universities and institutions, write  
to urgently ask the US government to sanction the de facto regime in  
Honduras for escalated violence directed at our counterparts in  
universities and research centers in Honduras.

Already we have seen deaths and unwarranted manhandling of respected  
scholars. The violence initiated by police yesterday at the national  
university in Tegucigalpa led directly to elevated confrontations with  
students exercising free speech and engaging in civil disobedience,  
confrontations endangering the wider community.

The responsibility for this violence rests directly with the de facto  
regime, which a week ago declared an escalation in its already harsh  
repression of civil rights.

Unfortunately, US foreign policy has failed to clearly indicate that  
we condemn these repressive policies and has demonstrably emboldened  
the de facto regime, discouraging supporters of democracy in Honduras  
and the region.

We call on you to reassert US support for the rights of the people to  
assemble, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech.

Our national interest in Central America is ill-served by mixed  
messages that encourage authoritarian rule.

With the repression practiced on university students, we see the next  
generation of potential leaders of Honduran civil society losing faith  
in the US as a source of support, and we urge policy decisions to  
consider wider interests, not the narrow and short-term goals that  
appear to be dictating United States’ inactivity.

The signatories below represent the first wave of those endorsing this  
appeal. Updated lists of signatures will be posted with the original  
petition online. But the need for action is urgent, and we  
respectfully ask for your intervention now.

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