Concern for Radio Progreso staff

Canadian Jesuits International shares the concern of the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner in Honduras over the safety of our partner Radio Progreso and its staff, as expressed in the press release of 3 September 2018 below:

Press release
United Nations, Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Honduras

OACNUDH concerned about smear campaign against Father Ismael Moreno

The office in Honduras of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OACNUDH) is concerned about incidents that have occurred in recent days against members of Radio Progreso.

Recently, the journalist and human rights defender, Sandra Maribel Sánchez, was victimized with threats against her life, as a result of her journalistic practice. In a similar situation, the Director of Radio Progreso, Father Ismael Moreno, has again been victimized by a smear campaign against his reputation.

The representative of OACNUDH in Honduras, María Soledad Pazo, views both events with great concern: “It is necessary to redouble efforts to ensure that human rights defenders can exercise their legitimate defense work, without intimidation, threats or reprisals, and to investigate the sources of any campaign of to smear reputations and threaten”.

The OHCHR in its Annual Report of 2017 warned about the situation of Father Ismael Moreno: “Attacks were directed against social leaders, often through campaigns of defamation and intimidation as in the case of the Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno (…) From the beginning of the post-electoral protests, the OHCHR has also documented the intensification of a campaign of intimidation against active human rights defenders “(numeral 45). In this sense, OACNUDH would like to consider the installation of a new Special Prosecutor for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Legal Advocates and reiterates that a robust role in the prompt investigation of attacks against human rights defenders is of vital importance in the current context.

Returning to the observations of the Declaration of the End of Mission of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, the OHCHR urges the Public Ministry to address impunity for attacks against human rights defenders and to adopt energetic measures, such as the development of specific protocols for the investigation of this type of crime. OACNUDH calls for the immediate cessation of smear campaigns aimed at human rights defenders and exhorts that the work of these people be recognized and protected as a central element of a democratic state of law.

OACNUDH reiterates its solidarity with the staff of Radio Progreso and Father Ismael Moreno.

For the Spanish original, please see OACNUDH Comunicado de Prensa.