Manuel Zelaya Rosales of the Liberal Party assumed the presidency in January. In April, the Central America Free Trade Agreement, which includes the USA, the Dominican Republic and other Central American states, came into effect in Honduras.
There were mass protests by Indigenous and environmental groups against the government's mining policies which they claimed were carried out without proper consultation and posed a threat to the environment and to the health of people living in mining areas.
Honduras ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture in May.
According to UN figures, as of June 2006 nearly half of the population lived below the poverty line and 20 per cent survived on US$1 or less a day.
Economic, social and cultural rights
Organizations and individuals involved in the defence of human rights in the context of land disputes were subjected to threats and intimidation. In most cases the authorities failed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
• In June, Jessica García, a leader of the Afro-descendant Garifuna community in the village of San Juan Tela, Atlántida department, northern Honduras, was allegedly threatened and forced at gunpoint to sign over land belonging to the community to a company who reportedly planned to build a tourist resort.
• In July, the Supreme Court acquitted brothers Leonardo and Marcelino Miranda. They had been convicted of a murder committed in 2001 following a politically motivated trial. The real reasons for their detention were believed to be their role as Indigenous community leaders and their efforts to obtain official recognition of communal land titles. Complaints by the brothers of threats and torture had not been investigated by the end of the year.
Violence against women
In November, the head of the Public Prosecutor's Office Special Unit for Women's Affairs voiced her concern at increasing levels of violence against women. During the year around 150 women were killed. Women's human rights organizations highlighted the high levels of killings and domestic violence and the poor record of state institutions in addressing gender-based violence.
Children and young people
According to local human rights organizations more than 400 children and young people were killed during the year. In the majority of cases, those responsible were not brought to justice.
In September the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found that the authorities had failed to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the extrajudicial executions of four young people by police officers in 1995, even after witnesses had identified the police officers involved. Moreover, the Court ordered Honduras to establish a training programme for police, judicial and Public Prosecutor's Office officials and prison staff about the special protection that the state should afford children and young people.
AI country reports/visits
• Honduras: Human rights defenders at risk - Montaña Verde prisoners of conscience (AI Index: AMR 37/001/2006)