Header image for news printout

Human rights: UN expert on extrajudicial executions launches official visit to Honduras


GENEVA (18 May 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, will visit Honduras from 23 to 27 May to assess the level of protection of the right to life in the country, where the murder rate is often found to be amongst the highest in the world, and more than 10 times higher than the global average.

“An essential aspect of my visit will focus on the current situation of violence in the country, including allegations of killings, attacks and intimidation against human rights defenders, journalists and legal practitioners,” Mr. Heyns said.

The expert will examine the legal framework and measures in place to prevent attacks to the life, security and physical integrity of individuals, and to ensure justice and accountability for such violations. He will further look at the norms and existing practices in connection with the use of force and assess their level of conformity with international law.

“I hope to assist the Government and the broader society in Honduras in coping with some of the challenges it faces regarding these issues, and in finding solutions that uphold the rule of law, promote accountability for human rights violations and fulfil victims’ rights to reparation,” he noted.

During his seven-day visit, which takes place at the invitation of the Government, the Special Rapporteur will meet with high-ranking officials, as well as representatives from various UN agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations, and civil society representatives in Honduras. Mr. Heyns will visit Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

The human rights expert will hold a press conference on 27 May 2016, at 11:00 am, at Casa de las Naciones Unidas, Colonia Palmira, Av. República de Panamá, Tegucigalpa, to share his preliminary findings with the media. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will present his final report on the visit to Honduras to the UN Human Rights Council.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Christof Heyns (South Africa), is the director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, where he has also directed the Centre for Human Rights, and has engaged in wide-reaching initiatives on human rights in Africa. He has advised a number of international, regional and national entities on human rights issues. Learn more, log on to:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/SRExecutionsIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Honduras: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/HNIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Tegucigalpa (during the visit):
Félix Gómez, (+504  22201100 Ext. 1703 / fgomez@ohchr.org)
Brenda Vukovic (+41 79 618 3429 / bvukovic@ohchr.org)  

In Geneva (before and after the visit): Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / bvukovic@ohchr.org), Jon Izagirre (+41 22 91 79715 / jizagirre@ohchr.org) or write to eje@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Mr. Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

For your news websites and social media: Key messages about our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles
Twitter: @UNHumanRights
Facebook: unitednationshumanrights
Instagram: unitednationshumanrights
Google+: unitednationshumanrights
Youtube: unohchr