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Honduras 2023

The militarization of public security and violence towards human rights defenders caused great concern. Some progress was made around sexual and reproductive rights, but abortion remained illegal. LGBTI people faced violence and discrimination. The government failed to take measures to address climate change.


After weeks of impasse, Congress designated an interim attorney general in November, which was highly criticized. The process of creating an international commission against impunity was underway but still pending at the end of the year. In June, the government deployed military and law enforcement police to control prisons after a clash that killed 46 people in a women’s prison. Thousands of people were forced to leave the country due to the high levels of violence, impunity, inequality and poverty, the impacts of which were exacerbated by climate change.

Excessive and unnecessary use of force

At the end of the year, the state of emergency allowing militarization and restriction of rights in more than half of the country’s municipalities had been in force for more than 12 months. The Ombudsperson (CONADEH) registered more than 360 complaints against security forces and questioned the necessity and proportionality of the prolonged measure.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions expressed concern about the widespread impunity, limited investigative capacity, and lack of independent and impartial investigations. A police officer was convicted for negligence causing the death of Keyla Martinez, who died in police custody in 2021. The prosecutor’s office, civil society organizations and Keyla Martinez’s family rejected the conviction, which did not consider key evidence or gender-based violence.

Human rights defenders

According to Global Witness, Honduras had the highest number of land and environmental defenders killed per capita in the world. The coordinator of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras suffered an attempted attack in September and three people from the Guapinol community were killed. In October, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures to members of the Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Assets and their lawyers. In December, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights declared the state of Honduras responsible for violation of the collective rights of a Garifuna community. The elaboration of a protocol to investigate attacks against human rights defenders, ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2018, remained pending. At the end of the year, Honduras had not signed the Escazú Agreement.

Sexual and reproductive rights

In March, the government allowed the use and sale of the emergency contraceptive pill, ending 14 years of prohibition. Despite high levels of child and teenage pregnancies, the president vetoed the Pregnancy Prevention Act, aimed at providing comprehensive sex education. Abortion remained prohibited in all circumstances.

LGBTI people’s rights

LGBTI people continued to face violence and discrimination, and same-sex marriage remained prohibited. At the end of the year, authorities had not adopted a procedure for the recognition of the gender identity of non-binary persons, which was ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a 2021 ruling.

Right to a healthy environment

The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change highlighted the devastating effects of prolonged droughts, floods caused by hurricanes, coastal erosion and sea-level rise on the poorest communities, particularly on their livelihoods, which also forced many to flee the country. He urged Honduran authorities to adopt prevention, adaptation and mitigation measures to protect the rights of these populations.