Wednesday, October 7, 2009

12 members of indigenous organization COPINH ask for political asylum at Guatemalan embassy

12 members of indigenous organization COPINH ask for political asylum at Guatemalan embassy

Note from Honduras Resists: Since this article was released asylum has been granted by the Guatemalan government for all 12 COPINH members requesting it.

Tegucigalpa.- (October 6, 2009) - 12 members of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), among them four minors, entered the Guatemalan embassy Tuesday morning to ask for political asylum alleging that they are suffering from political persecution by the current de facto government.

The indigenous leader Salvador Zúniga accompanied the peasants who held up signs condemning the persecution, the tortures and the repression unleashed by the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti against these peoples and others like the Garifuna who have participated in the protests convoked by the National Front of Resistance against the Coup d'Etat.

Zúniga expressed that “there is a position of openness by the government of Guatemala in the sense that they have expressed that they are preparing to receive Hondurans who have to flee the country."
He added that, "as a result of the crisis they have given instructions to prepare Añadió que a causa de la crisis han dado instructions to prepare lodging in all of the border zones with Honduras and the communication from the Guatemalan Foreign Office seems very positive to us."
With regard to the denunciations of persecution made by the compatriots who have asked for political asylum, teh indigenous leader added that “we have seen how the dead are appearing, we have seen hundreds of people detained, today there are still more than 60 imprisoned and there are many killings, so we are facing a tremendous situation."
“Of the people who today asked for asylum in the embassy there are four who have already suffered jailing and one of them has fresh scars from being hit in the face and head and signs of torture and beating on the back. So we are facing a terrible regime which is threatening life," added Zúniga.
The Council Minister of the Guatemalan Embassy, Walther Noack Sierra, a bit impacted by what happened, received the peasants persecute by the dictatorship and hours later the Chancellery of Guatemala sent out a release.
In it, the chancellery expresses that “twelve Honduran citizens arrived at the Guatemalan Embassy in Honduras to ask for political asylum." It adds that, “article 27 of the Political Constitution establishes that Guatemala recognizes the right to asylum and extends it in accordance with international practices."
The Guatemalan Government awaids the coming arrival of the Commission of Chancelleries that through the efforts put forth by the Organization of American States will visit Tegucigalpa on Wednesday, to propose the installation of a dialog table in order to seek a solution to the political crisis being lived through in Honduras.

The release indicates that Guatemala is represented in the Commission of Chancelleries by the Minister of Foreign Relations, Haroldo Rodas Melgar.

“At the same time we demand that the de facto authorities respect human rights and cease the acts of repression against its citizens."
The members of COPINH entered the embassy at 10:00am this Tuesday October 6th, hoping that the government of Guatemala will support their request.
The citizens who are in the Guatemalan embassy are:
Lilia Margarita Portillo Pereira
Randy Castillo Sánchez
Sergio Raúl Jerezano Cruz (menor de edad)
Mirna Elizabeth Funes Portillo
Ludi Glorineth Funez Portillo (menor de edad)
Julian Martinez
Yuri Ismelia Funez Portillo (menor de edad)
María Isaías López Lorenzo
José Francisco Sánchez Díaz
Zacarías Gutiérrez (menor de edad)
Martha Socorro Boquín Romero
Williams Marcelino Perdomo Alvarenga
Photo below: "Lempira didn't fear the conquistadors, today his children do not fear the dictator. -COPIN"

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