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Keeping human rights observers in Honduras until the results of last Sunday’s presidential elections are clarified is essential to avoid the worsening of political and social violence in the country, said Juan Almendares in interview with Real World Radio two days after the vote.
The doctor and member of Madre Tierra, Friends of the Earth Honduras, is also a key person in terms of humanitarian rights. He said it could take about a month to have the election results. The Freedom Party and the Anticorruption Party claimed there had been electoral fraud.
Meanwhile, President Porfirio Lobo said the vote results are final and that his party colleague Juan Orlando Hernandez won the elections.
Almendares, who used to be a member of the Executive Commitee of Friends of the Earth International, collaborated in several international missions in Honduras, especially one bby the International Human Rights Alliance, where Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon participated.
Almendares said the elections were militarized and rural communities who are struggling against megaprojects and mining, as well as monoculture plantations are the most vulnerable to state violence.
“We said (before the elections) that the presence of unidentified military police in the polling stations amounted to announcing human rights violations”, said Almendares. He added that the same officers who collaborated in the coup d’état that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 are now the ones who “guarantee” the elections, which is a contradiction that favors the ruling status quo.
Indigenous and Garífuna leaders are some of the groups at risk for defending their territories. “We believe that the observation process should be ongoing. A democracy is not only define by a vote, but by the respect for human rights. There is a month deadline to recount the votes. We believe there should be the vote recount the opposition is demanding so the country is at peace”, said Almendares.
He called social and human rights organizations and the media to be alert to what is happening in Honduras.
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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