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HUMAN RIGHTS AND ANTI-CORRUPTION ACT

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Since the 2009 military coup in Honduras, ever increasing levels of militarization and the steady weakening of oversight mechanisms and constitutional guarantees has stimulated systemic corruption in the government and the collapse of rule of law. Honduras has become an effective narco-state and the most dangerous country in the world to defend human rights, where civil society members are criminalized, attacked, disappeared and murdered in overwhelming numbers. 


The Honduras Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Act of 2021 (S388) would suspend United States support for the Government of Honduras until endemic corruption, impunity, and human rights violations are addressed.

It would also hold Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and members of the police and military accountable for the human rights abuses and the deeply alarming level of corruption they are responsible for. 

In February 2021 the bill was introduced by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely with 8 initial co-sponsors: Senators Bernie Sanders (VT),  Patrick Leahy (VT) , Ed Markey (MA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Dick Durbin (IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Chris Van Hollen (MD).

The History

  • What are the qualifications for joining a trip to Latin America and the Caribbean?
    Anyone with a commitment to, or willingness to learn about, social justice should apply for a delegation. We encourage participation of people from diverse backgrounds. Our delegations involve a fair amount of walking and navigating stairs, rugged terrain, and inclines. If you needs or concerns about accessibility and accommodations on delegations, please reach out to info@solidaritycollective.org.
  • Is there a minimum age requirement?
    The minimum age for a delegation is 18, and some exceptions may apply. Reach out for more information on possible youth delegations through institutions. Most trips are inter-generational (age 18-80+). Please be prepared to engage with people of varied life experiences and worldviews.
  • How many people will be on the trip?
    Typical trips range in size from 10 to 20 individuals, with 12 as the average number.
  • What are the accommodations like?
    Delegates will stay together in modest, but safe and clean guesthouses. This typically involves dormitory style rooms (2-4 people per room), and private baths for each room. When staying with a family, the homes are usually humble and rustic. Though conditions may be much different from those to which delegates are accustomed, delegates consistently rate home stays as one of the highlights of their trip. Conditions vary across country site but can include: cold showers, thin mattresses and intermittent wifi.
  • What does my delegation fee cover and how much will it cost?
    Your delegation fee covers just about everything except airfare: food, lodging, translation, accompaniment, facilitation, reading and preparation materials, orientation and on-the-ground transportation (in Colombia, internal airfare is also covered in the price). For our Cuba delegations, there is an additional $100 visa cost. The prices of delegations vary depending on length of stay and country you’re visiting. By checking the online delegation page you can find the price of the specific delegation that interests you.
  • What happens if I am not be able to go on the delegation? Is my delegation fee refundable?
    One Month Prior to Delegation Departure Refund requests received up to 1 month before delegation departure will be issued a full refund minus the $300 deposit. 30 Days or Less until Delegation Departure Date Delegation Credit: Refund requests received with less than 1 month of departure are eligible for a delegation credit of the entire delegation fee amount less the $300 deposit and any non-refundable expenses already incurred by Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective, such as domestic airline tickets or lodging. This delegation credit amount can be applied toward a future WFPSC delegation of your choice. This credit will be issued in the form of a written letter with the requisite accounting information from the WFPSC staff. Cash Refunds: For delegates wishing to receive a cash refund, any refund request received less than 1 month before the departure of the delegation is eligible for a 50% cash refund of the full delegation fee, less the $300 deposit, $50 processing fee and any non-refundable expenses already incurred by WFPSC, such as domestic airline tickets or lodging. Travel delays: WFPSC cannot offer a refund to delegates that do not arrive or depart on the scheduled dates due to changes or cancellations made by airlines or other transportation companies. We encourage delegates to seek appropriate refunds directly from transportation company representatives. Schedule changes: Due to the sensitive nature of WFPSC delegations, itineraries are subject to change. If there is domestic air travel, WFPSC will refund to delegates any funds it is able to recover whenever possible, if the itinerary is changed due to security or other safety concerns. Travel Insurance: Delegates may wish to consider purchasing additional travel insurance before their trip. Consult your travel agent for details.
  • Are Sliding Scale prices and fundraising support available?
    Sliding scale prices are available for every delegation and are included in the delegation application. Fundraising support is provided in terms of raising funds online and thinking about raising funds through your local community. Unfortunately at this time, we have little to no scholarships available.
  • Is there any training or orientation before or during the delegation?
    Preparation for the delegation is an important part of your experience. Before departing for your trip, you will receive reading materials that cover health precautions, items to pack, what to expect from your delegation, and a reading materials. An extensive orientation and training session takes place prior to travel and on the first day of your delegation. This includes cultural awareness, health and safety guidelines, and an introduction to consensus based decision-making. You will also become familiar with international development policies as well as the historic and current political reality of the country you’re visiting.
  • I would like to coordinate a delegation for a group of people. Can you customize a delegation for my group?
    We can custom design delegations for organizations, universities, and faith communities. Please fill out the application form here.
  • Can I get academic credit for my delegation experience?
    Some colleges offer credit for participation in a WFPSC delegations. Inquire with your institutions first to determine the course requirements. Independent study options have worked well in the past for students.
  • What type of skills will I learn on a trip with the WFP Solidarity Collective?
    On your delegation, you will gain invaluable experience that will serve you personally, academically, and professionally for years to come. By going on a delegation, you will learn about the history and current implications of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, grassroots organizing, alternative group processes, cross-cultural sensitivity, policy advocacy and much more.
  • Who sets up the trip and accompanies the group?
    All delegations are set up and facilitated by International Program Directors, who are based in our program sites. These program directors accompany the groups, providing interpretation and facilitation. Program Directors are experienced leading delegations and can serve as a valuable resource in answering questions regarding U.S. foreign policy in the country you are visiting. Delegation coordinators are responsible for stateside recruitment and will also be accompanying the delegation.
  • Is it dangerous to travel to Latin America and the Caribbean?
    The safety of our delegates is of the utmost concern to WFPSC. We have been hosting delegations to Latin America since 1983 and have extensive networks in the countries in which we operate. This experience has allowed us to responsibly and safely coordinate delegations. All WFPSC staff are the final decision-makers with safety and security concerns. Delegates must respect and follow the decisions made by WFPSC staff. Before beginning any delegation, participants receive an extensive security and health briefing, and go over common sense precautions. By following such measures, delegations are generally very safe. Cuba is considered a very safe country. In Colombia and Honduras, the level of political violence requires a much more extensive training and these delegations are not for everyone.
  • Can I go out in the evenings while on delegation?
    We want to honor and respect the autonomy and different levels of travel experience that delegates have as well as the fact that some may have roots in the country we are visiting. Going out at night (dancing, to a bar, etc…) is not always recommended or allowed. WFPSC staff should always be consulted as some country sites have specific policies and safety guidelines must be followed. Additionally, delegates should always consider how going out will affect their engagement on the delegation (falling asleep in early morning meetings with community members and waking up roommates, for example).
  • Can specific dietary needs be accommodated?
    Food accommodations vary across country sites and program directors should always be consulted before delegates book a flight if the diet is very restrictive. Our communities are not always able to accommodate vegans, and people with gluten allergies as cross-contamination is possible. We can often accommodate vegetarians, however the diet is often more limited. Bringing snacks is allowed and recommended.

Act Now

Key Provisions

The legislation includes the following provisions:

 

  • Sanctions for President Hernández

  •  $2 million for the Honduras office of the United Nations High Office on Human Rights.

  • A new MACCIH anti-corruption commission, to be negotiated by the United Nations, and strengthening of UFERCO, the special prosecutor's office.

  • Prohibition of US munitions sales to the Honduran police and military.

  • Suspension of (1) US funds for Honduran security forces and (2) US support for funds from multilateral development banks to Honduran security forces until a series criteria have been met, laid out in the bill.

Co-Sponsors in the Senate

Resources

See the press release here: https://www.merkley.senate.gov/.../merkley-leahy-durbin...

 

Guardian article:    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/23/us-democratic-senators-honduras-sanction-president-bill 

 

Full text of the legislation is available in English: here

 

Para ver el texto completo del proyecto de ley: aqui

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