The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has called on Honduran authorities to carry out an “impartial” investigation into the murders of three Indigenous men from the Warunta community in the Miskito Coast.
In a statement issued Thursday, the OHCHR said authorities should "carry out the investigative diligence in an impartial way that allows for the prompt and effective clarification of what happened.”
Four soldiers are being investigated for allegedly participating in the murder of Miskito indigenous men Patricio Pravia, Orban Coba and Darlin Soto on May 19 in the coastal area bordering Nicaragua.
The U.N. agency condemned the deaths and said state investigations must establish “responsibilities that by law fall upon the authors of such lamentable act, providing justice and reparations to the victims and their families, taking into account they are part of an Indigenous people.”
According to initial reports, the three Indigenous men were attacks with live ammunition after returning from fishing. On May 20 members of the community, friends and family members organized a protest in front of the military base in Puerto Lempira.
The OHCHR also confirmed and condemned the wounding of three minors with live ammunition during the protest and urged the Honduran state to respect the right of Hondurans to protest freely.
The statement also called on the state security forces to “ensure that its members are properly trained in human rights when performing their duties.”
The case, however, isn't an isolated incident. Since Juan Orlando Hernandez was re-elected in November 2017 amid accusations of electoral fraud, the U.N. has issued several statements calling for the respect of human rights and condemning the use of violence by the police and military against protesters.
In February, the former head of Mission of Support Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), Juan Jimenez resigned citing rising hostility from the Honduran government and casting doubt over the government’s interest in ending impunity in the country.
Earlier in May Michael Frost, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, also comment on the increase in violence saying: “Impunity, the lack of participation, and collusion between powerful interests have become the deadly ingredients that make Honduras a dangerous place for human rights defenders."