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COMMITTEE ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES CONSIDERS REPORT OF HONDURAS

23 May 2018

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Honduras on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Introducing the report, Karla Cueva, Secretary of State in the Human Rights Office of Honduras, said Honduras strongly believed in the promotion and protection of human rights and in the dialogue with the United Nations treaty bodies and other mechanisms to this effect.  In 2005, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance had been ratified as had the Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons.  In 2008 the National Mechanism for the Prevention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment CONAPREV had been created while in 2015, the Act on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Officers had been adopted, creating a national system for the protection of these groups.  In 2017, the Secretariat for Human Rights had been created.  The Special Prosecutor for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists, social communicators and justice operators had been provided with a sizeable budget and five specialized investigative agents.  On the definition and classification of the crime of enforced disappearance, in 2012 the Criminal Code had been amended with the addition of article 333-A, which allowed incorporating the elements of the definition of article 2 of the Convention into the national legislation.  This reform signified a big step in the harmonization of the national legislation with international standards. 

In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts inquired about the number of complaints received and the number of investigations opened on victims of enforced disappearances.  They asked whether a single consolidated register existed where all the information was being gathered, and were interested to know about the institutional capacities in this regard, as well as, in particular, what search mechanisms were employed for those missing persons who were alive.  Experts wanted to know how children victims of enforced disappearances, kidnapping or abduction were being protected; whether training had been provided for those involved in proceedings on enforced disappearances; and how the principle of non-refoulement was respected.  The Experts wanted to know how the Criminal Code had been adopted, how enforced disappearance was criminalised in the Criminal Code, how victims were defined, whether the Code would be amended to include the three circumstances of the responsibility of superiors, and whether it had increased the penalty for the crime of enforced disappearance.  Specific cases that Committee Experts inquired about included the cases of enforced disappearances in the 1980s and the amnesty decrees issued in this regard; the investigations of the 118 persons found dead in the Bajo Aguan; cases of missing Honduran migrants; and the liability of superiors as opposed to that of subordinates. 

In concluding remarks, Maria Clara Galvis Patino, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Honduras, conveyed her gratitude and satisfaction on behalf of the Committee for the delegation’s large and important composition, for having appropriately answered the questions, and for their openness and willingness to cooperate, with sometimes very detailed and specific information.

Ms. Cueva, in her final remarks, said the Government of Honduras believed it had taken significant steps to comply with the Convention and highlighted the will and desire of Honduras to work with the treaty bodies, noting that it was aware that challenges remained.  In particular, she expressed her gratitude to civil society organizations for their work, which allowed the country to tackle the problems in a more efficient and collaborative manner. 

Suela Janina, Committee Chairperson, in concluding remarks, thanked the delegation for the open and frank dialogue.  She also thanked the representatives of civil society and family members, noting that they were a very important pillar for ensuring the fight against enforced disappearances with their contributions, and hoped the communication with them would continue freely and without intimidation.

The delegation of Honduras included representatives of the Human Rights Office, the Commission of Human Rights of the National Congress, the Attorney General’s Office, the Security Secretariat, the Defence Secretariat, the Public Ministry, the Secretariat of Human Rights, Justice, Governance and Decentralization, and the Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations Office at Geneva.


The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. today, to begin its consideration of the initial report of Austria (CED/C/AUT/1).


Report

The initial report of Honduras can be read here: (CED/C/HND/1).

Presentation of the Report

KARLA CUEVA, Secretary of State in the Human Rights Office of Honduras, said Honduras was open to cooperating in a frank and open dialogue with the treaty bodies in order to identify the progress and challenges in implementing such an important international instrument in the field of human rights.  Honduras strongly believed in the promotion and protection of human rights.  In recent years, the State had received 11 visits from Special Rapporteurs and other representatives of the United Nations.  Historically Honduras had suffered greatly from organised crime and trafficking.  In its combat against these groups, it had succeeded in reducing the homicide rate from 87.3 per cent in 2011 to 42.7 per cent in 2017 for every 100,000 citizens.  This was as a result of the articulated effort of the security institutions, as well as the adoption of a set of structural reforms for all operators in the justice sector.  Reforms also included the approval of the Police Career Law, and the Organic Law of the Secretary of State in the Security Office and the National Police of Honduras, all with the aim to restore peace and tranquillity to the citizens. 

Similarly, institutional reforms had been undertaken, including the establishment of the Public Ministry and the Special Human Rights Prosecutor's Office in 1993, and the Commissioner of Human Rights in 1995.  Ms. Cueva also underlined the

doctrinal and organizational change of the Armed Forces of Honduras since the last decade of the twentieth century, and in 1996 the Secretary of State in the Office of National Defense had been established.  In 2005, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance had been ratified as had the Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons.  In 2008, the National Mechanism for the Prevention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment CONAPREV had been created, while in 2015, the Act on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Officers had been adopted, creating a national system for the protection of these groups.  In 2017, the Secretariat for Human Rights had been created.  The Special Prosecutor for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists, social communicators and justice operators had been provided with a sizeable budget and five specialized investigative agents.  On the definition and classification of the crime of enforced disappearance, in 2012, the Criminal Code had been amended with the addition of article 333-A, which allowed incorporating the elements of the definition of article 2 of the Convention into the national legislation.  This reform signified a big step in the harmonization of the national legislation with international standards.  The new Criminal Code met the requirements regarding the definition of the offense in accordance with the provisions of article 2 of the Convention, as well as the provisions of article 5 and the development of the principle of universal justice, the non-applicability of this offense, and the aggravating and mitigating factors of chapter 7 of the Convention.

Additionally, the Public Ministry had been significantly strengthened, with an increase in the number of prosecutors from 400 in 2013 to 938 prosecutors nationwide.  Under article 333-A on enforced disappearances of the Criminal Code, the Public Prosecutor was investigating 164 cases of alleged forced disappearance, including cases prior to the entry into force of the Penal Code.  To date, none of the investigations into the crime of enforced disappearance had been closed.  With respect to one of the alternative reports, in relation to the annual reports of the National Commissioner for Human Rights CONADEH, it had been concluded that in 70 of the cases there was no participation by the State authorities.  The National Mechanism for the Prevention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment CONAPREV had during the past few years conducted more than 400 visits, including to prisons, places where juvenile offenders were held, psychiatric hospitals and other places where people were detained.  Most of these visits had been conducted unannounced. 

Questions from the Committee Experts

RAINER HUHLE, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Honduras, warmly welcomed the large high-level delegation, and noted that Honduras was a country of many problems in the field of enforced disappearance, and that its openness to scrutiny by the United Nations mechanisms set an example to other countries in the region.

Turning to article 3 of the Convention, he asked for further information on the investigation and prosecution of persons without the acquiescence of the State and how those responsible were brought to justice.

The Expert wanted to know whether the prohibition of enforced disappearances was enforced, and if so, how many cases had been recorded and which body recorded them.  

Was there any updated information on the investigations by the National Commissioner for Human Rights CONADEH?  Was there a protocol for searching for the disappeared?  Or was there just one register?  What did institutions do with information from CONADEH on enforced disappearances?  What were the consequences and did it lead to immediate searches?

The Expert asked whether there was a single consolidated register where all this information was being gathered, including the number of cases, the comparison of different cases along gender lines, and so forth. 

What was the number of complaints received, as compared to the complaints opened for investigation?  In other words, how many of the complaints received had led to an investigation?  Of those numbers, what was the status of their investigation to date?  Was it in the preliminary stages of an investigation?  How many of them were for cases of enforced disappearance?  

In the State party’s response to the list of issues, the Committee had been surprised that only one case of enforced disappearance had been recorded prior to the entry into force of the Penal Code.  In this regard, he noted that the Committee was aware of the rulings of the Inter American Court of Human Rights, which were important for establishing the crime of enforced disappearances globally, and which had precisely regarded such crimes in Honduras in the 1980s.
 
Turning to regional issues, the Expert asked for clarification on the Mechanism for Support for Investigation, and the Forensic Institute, and whether these were Mexican or Honduran bodies.  The Office of Disappeared Migrants was a third case in point, which had been established, according to information received by the Committee, by the International Committee of the Red Cross.  The Expert asked the delegation to elaborate on the functioning and competencies of these bodies.  He also asked the delegation to give details on the cooperation and competencies between Mexico and Honduras with respect to investigations and prosecutions of alleged perpetrators.

Was there any investigation as to the possible participation of the State agency which might lead to enforced disappearances, as per article 12.4 of the Convention?  This article stipulated that the State should ensure that persons suspected of having committed an offence of enforced disappearance were not in a position to influence the progress of an investigation by means of pressure or acts of intimidation or reprisal.  The Committee had received information that certain military bodies enjoyed privileges when enforced disappearances were concerned.

The Expert noted that the search mechanisms only searched or found the remains of deceased missing persons (post-mortem).  Were there any similar mechanisms to search for those missing persons who were alive? If so, what methods were used for this purpose? 

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Honduras, asked how enforced disappearance was criminalised in the Criminal Code.  Was this new provision of the code the same as the one enshrined in article 333?  Was the clause interpreted in judicial terms and if so, what judicial body had interpreted it?  On the approval of the code, had the State party implemented a mechanism to allow civil society to participate in the debates on this code?  If so, how?

Moving to article 6 on the responsibility of superiors, the Expert noted that the three circumstances of this responsibility were not mentioned in the domestic law.  Had the amended Criminal Code enshrined these three particular circumstances in order to harmonize the legislation with the Convention?

Had concealment been applied to a case of enforced disappearance?  If yes, could the delegation elaborate on the details?

Regarding the use of a superior order as a justification to commit enforced disappearance, how did this article comply with the content of article 6.2 of the Convention?  Had this prohibition been directly implemented?

Had the new Criminal Code increased the penalty for the crime of enforced disappearance?  If so, what crime carried the highest punishment in Honduras?

The Expert acknowledged that the new Criminal Code enshrined mitigating and aggravating circumstances.  In this regard, how could the State party ensure the ability of the power of the Public Prosecutor’s office to abstain from mitigating circumstances?  How did it ensure that there were no barriers that could prevent criminal proceedings against enforced disappearance?

With respect to the continuing nature of the crime, did the new Criminal Code incorporate the fact that this crime was a continuing offence until the person had been found?

Article 333 had been applied to 164 cases of enforced disappearance.  However, the number of cases since 1980 had dropped.  What had happened to the remaining cases?  Did article 333 apply to those cases?  Had the application of article 333 borne in mind the continuing crime and was it thus retroactively applied to the past offences? 

Since the end of the 1980s, several decrees had been issued for the amnesty of persons who had been involved in various crimes, including torture.  Had these decrees been applied to amnesty decrees for enforced disappearance?

Was the national mechanism able to receive complaints from abroad, in particular with regard to children?

The Expert referred to the concerns of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights regarding the Law on Order of Public Police, which stated that special police must be accompanied by judges approved by the police services.  The Committee was of the opinion that this created an exceptional legal model with similar features to a military court.  Were there any legal orders under way to ensure that members of the police and army had been investigated in accordance with the Convention?

Another Expert asked the delegation to clarify the practice of pre-bargaining, which allowed for the possibility that the suspect was not punished justifiably.

An Expert asked if the crime of enforced disappearances was considered as a crime against humanity.

Another Expert regretted the lengthy time period for the revision of the Criminal Code, and wondered whether any difficulties had been encountered which could have accounted for this delay.  Had the difficulties affected the Convention itself, and in particular, the incorporation of a reference to crimes against humanity?

Response by the Delegation

The Public Prosecutor’s Office had received 164 lodged complaints of which 83 per cent were male, 18 per cent were female, 17 per cent Hondurans and 27 per cent foreigners.  This information was in the report by the National Commissioner for Human Rights CONADEH.  The discrepancy in the complaint numbers was due to the investigations that were lodged but connected to other crimes, not just the crime of enforced disappearances.

On the consolidation of registers within the Public Prosecutor for Human Rights as an umbrella institution, the register of the National Commissioner for Human Rights “CONADEH” was part of the register of the Public Prosecutor for Human Rights. 

The case of concealment had not yet been applied.

On whether there were guarantees of a fair trial in cases where a number of law enforcement officials were accused, the delegation stated that there was a specific unit for these kinds of cases.

The continuation of the crime of enforced disappearance remained until the person who had disappeared appeared.

For a long time, there had been no protocols in place for searching for migrants or disappeared persons.  The lack of information or protocols had compelled the State party to forge alliances with other countries and institutions in the North Triangle Region.  Thanks to international agreements and protocols there was a plan to organize these issues together with the Argentinian Forensic Institute, with the aim of ensuring that Honduran citizens who got lost along the migrant route could be repatriated. 

Access to international forensic services played a vital role in repatriation, or the ability to reunite families with their loved ones.  Databanks were being created with international teams.  Up until 2015, Honduras had lacked forensic services to take on that role.  Since then, the Forensic Services worked together with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other institutions such as the Argentinian Forensic Institute.  Honduras would soon have its own forensic databanks thanks to technological equipment from the United States.

A human identification system was in place with search mechanisms in order to identify an individual.  The protocols that had been established internationally contained information on specific individuals who were being sought, such as size, weight, teeth, and all other data post-mortem.  This was a unified register or database for all countries.  The International Committee on the Red Cross had provided five regional countries with the same forensic database, to enable these countries to share the information and be compatible.  As of this year, Honduras was ready to analyse the information thanks to all the technological resources to take on its responsibilities.

Complaints could be submitted through the Embassy of Mexico in Honduras.  There were also close links with the Guatemalan forensic services.

The Criminal Code aimed to punish those that had committed the crimes.  The delegation did recognize the need to include the victims’ rights in this legislation.

On the lengthiness of the drafting of the new Criminal Code, the delegation responded that civil society as well as all political parties and other stakeholders had been involved.  Each of the 600 articles of the Criminal Code had been examined, article by article, with these stakeholders, not just in the capital, but in the regions as well.

Enforced disappearance was considered as a crime against humanity, with a prison sentence of 30 years.

Follow-up Questions from the Committee Experts

RAINER HUHLE, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Honduras, acknowledged that the one case referred exclusively to the case under investigation in the Public Prosecutor’s office, but inquired what happened to the cases before they entered the investigation stage.  Had they all been clarified and therefore did not figure in the number?  There needed to be a register of the number of disappeared people, as well as on the number of people who had been found.  An answer was still needed in this respect.

How was the information on post-mortem cases achieved?  Through information by relatives or other ways?  What mechanisms were used to detect disappeared persons who were alive (anti-mortem)?

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Honduras, commended the delegation for the adoption of the new Criminal Code, and asked them to share a copy of this text. 

How was the distinction between responsibility and liability made, between those who were implementing the order and those who were giving the order?  What happened when the crime was not at the level of seriousness described in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court?  Which circumstances had to exist in order to establish the liability of superiors as opposed to that of subordinates?

The design of the institutional architecture was important, especially concerning the criminal liability of public officials and the competencies of judges in this regard, where there was a problem of impartiality and independence.  Had the State party made any progress to implementing the Inter-American Commission’s recommendations in this respect?

Referring to article 6, another Expert stated that a clear wording on the criminal liability of superiors was not a luxury but fundamental for combatting impunity.

The Expert also noted that the notion of remedy for victims was restrictive, and did not include the provision of rehabilitation.  The Expert asked the State party to provide, within the criminal code, a very clear definition of the crime against humanity.

Response by the Delegation

The criminal responsibility of superiors was defined under article 140 in the Criminal Code which stipulated that superiors must be punished for a period of 15 to 20 years.

The delegation assured the Committee that it would share a copy of the new Criminal Code.

The aggravating and mitigating circumstances were referred to under article 139 where the judge decided on the minimum and maximum penalty.

FOSINA (or the judges accompanying the special police) operated within the Public Prosecution Service where certified prosecutors did not answer to the military police. 

In response to what had happened to the remainder of the 184 persons who had disappeared – which was information received by the Committee from other organizations – the delegation replied that the discrepancy in numbers was probably due to the fact that these 20 or so cases had likely been dealt with as murders or homicides.  The delegation assured the Committee that the State party did have a register within its Forensic Service.  

The method for procuring anti-mortem data as per the protocol was through interviews that enabled the services to search for the person.  Several actors were involved in these interviews.

The families of the victims from the 1980s had been compensated and several rulings had been handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in this regard.

Questions from the Committee Experts

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Honduras, referring to the principle of non-refoulement, asked the delegation to provide information on the criteria applied to assess that a person was at risk of being subject to enforced disappearance.  What were the legal grounds for pre-trial administrative detention?  What time limits existed for pre-trial detention?  Did the appeal have suspensive effect?

Were detained persons always made aware of their legal rights?  Allegedly, following the questionable elections in 2017, some detainees did not have access to lawyers or contact with family members, and the Habeas Corpus Act was not duly respected.  Had punishments been handed down for non-compliance with these acts and if so, to whom?

Allegedly, the National Mechanism for the Prevention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment CONAPREV did not always have access to prisons.  What measures had been adopted or were planned to be adopted to bring this situation in line with the Convention?

What measures could be adopted to ensure that the registers of persons deprived of liberty contained all the information as in accordance with article 17.3?

Could the delegation provide information on the way in which the State party guaranteed that all persons could access information in the registers of persons deprived of liberty?

On training of police force and the army, as well as staff working in penitentiary systems, was there a plan to adopt specific training on enforced disappearance and the Convention?  Was there a plan to have training for persons engaged with searching for disappeared persons?

RAINER HUHLE, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Honduras, referring to article 24 and the rights of victims of enforced disappearance, reminded that the definition of the victim in Honduran legislation was somewhat restrictive.  Was there a plan to bring this definition in line with the provisions of the Convention?

On recognizing that a person had disappeared and its consequences, the Expert noted that the requirement to obtain recognition that a person had disappeared was to open a criminal proceeding, and that the only court that was competent in this matter was the Military Court.  Were there other channels to access reparation, apart from the procedural channels?

What headway had been made in the National Programme for Reparations?  Were there other channels to provide reparations, other than the judicial or administrative channels?

Was there a plan for a bill on the right to truth?

Referring to the declaration of death in absentia of disappeared persons, what happened if five years following the declaration, the person suddenly appeared alive?  The Expert reminded that the Committee started with the presumption that the person disappeared was alive.  Would the legislation that allowed for the declaration of death in absentia of disappeared persons be revised. 
Regarding the investigations of the 118 persons found dead in the Bajo Aguan, what was the competence of the Unit of Violent Death in the Bajo Aguan?  Were there any open cases of investigation of possible enforced disappearance?  Could a summary be sent to the Committee of all of the activities and search procedures of disappeared persons who had been found alive?

How could the protection of the participation of family members in search procedures be guaranteed?

Did the Act on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Officials also cover victims of enforced disappearance and persons who supported them in this endeavour?

How many children had disappeared in Honduras and neighbouring countries and how many were considered to be missing?

Were there cases of abduction of children as a result of enforced disappearance, and what measures were undertaken under the civil war?

What were the results under the Amber Early Warning System, and the National Coordinating Mechanism?

Responses by the Delegation

Cases of missing Honduran migrants were followed up by the migrant centres as well as the consular network abroad.  Currently there were 144 cases of Honduran migrants who were non-localized.  Hotlines had been set up for the different countries in Central America and different parts of the United States of America. 

The principle of non-refoulement was enshrined in the Act on Migration in the country. 

On access to prisons, the National Mechanism for the Prevention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment CONAPREV had unimpeded access and had conducted over 400 visits in the past years.

Of the over 200 persons who were currently protected under the Act on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Social Communicators and Justice Officials, three were human rights defenders working on issues related to enforced disappearance.

There had been a huge drop in the number of deaths in Bajo Aguan thanks to the presence of the Investigative Unit and Prosecutors.  Additionally, there were mobile morgues in order to support the process of exhumations.

The Public Prosecution Service investigations continued after the declaration of death in absentia of a missing person.

With respect to the amnesty decrees declared in the 1990s, these had been declared inapplicable by the courts in the case of human rights violations.  The amnesty decrees declared in 2010, following the coup d’état, had not been cases of human rights violations.

On the registry of detainees, all the files were in line were international standards and contained all the information required.  In order to identify all those deprived of liberty, a major human identification process would begin in June this year.

The Amber Law had been adopted in 2016 in order to protect and track down children victims of enforced disappearances, kidnapping or abduction.  The new Directorate for Protection DENAF was competent to execute this law and tasked with protecting minors.  A register of children was also planned under this law.  At present, in the registry there were no children that had been victims of enforced disappearance.

No training had been provided for those involved in proceedings on enforced disappearance, however, there were experts in the field of enforced disappearance, including the former Ombudsman.

The Criminal Court was the court competent to deal with reparations.  Under Honduran law, any criminal case involved civil reparations.

Any Convention that had been signed by Honduras was an integral part of Honduran legislation.  As such, the delegation assured the Committee that the amendment of the definition of victims of enforced disappearance would be considered accordingly.

Questions from the Committee Experts

On the principle of non-refoulement, MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Honduras, thanked the delegation for the information on the Act on Migration.  However, she stated that her question had been on the criteria used to assess the degree of risk to deport an individual.  She asked for further clarifications in this regard.

She also asked for clarification on the circumstances surrounding specific individual cases of enforced disappearance.

On the control and supervision of certain prisons by the military personnel, would this practice continue and if so, for how long?

RAINER HUHLE, Committee Expert and Rapporteur for Honduras, referring to the definition of a victim, and of the right of that victim to property, asked the delegation to furnish the response it had provided in this regard in writing and in more detail.

What were the Government’s priorities in working with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras? 

On the victims from the Bajo Aguan, under what kind of definition were these criminal investigations being pursued?  When dozens of individuals were exhumed from mass graves, it could not be excluded that these had not been victims of enforced disappearance.  The Expert asked for clarification in this respect.

Welcoming the Amber Law, he asked for clarifications referring to cases from the 1980s whereby the children of parents who had been victims of deportation had been forcibly put up for adoption.

On the rights of victims, was international law applied when it was not transposed in national legislation?  He reminded that the victim should be defined in terms of the damage caused to them.

Responses by the Delegation

The permanent Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was in Honduras at the request of the Government of Honduras.  The priorities were establishing the National Mechanism for the Protection of Defenders and supporting this mechanism, as well as the monitoring system for recommendations.

On the deaths recorded in Bajo Aguan, some of these had been recorded as homicides and others as murders.  The authorities had not yet been able to pinpoint any of these as enforced disappearances.

As to the registers regarding the families from the 1980s and their children, the new Directorate for Protection DENAF would look into these.

The delegation took note of the Expert’s clarifications on the definition of victims so as to be able to establish it in the national legislation.  Both existing legislation and international conventions as well as the jurisprudence of the aforementioned bodies were taken into account.

Concluding Remarks

MARIA CLARA GALVIS PATINO, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Honduras, conveyed her gratitude and satisfaction on behalf of the Committee to the delegation, for the fact that Honduras had ratified the Convention and submitted a complete and comprehensive report.  She also thanked the large and important composition of the delegation for having appropriately answered the questions and for their openness and willingness to cooperate, with sometimes very detailed and specific information.  The Committee had put the delegation to test and the delegation had risen to the challenge.  The responses had given the Committee an idea of the facts on the ground.  The concluding observations would be sent in due course.  In the meantime, she reminded the delegation that it had 48 hours to provide written information, and reiterated the importance of sending the Committee the new Criminal Code within this time span.  The dialogue had been productive and smooth, but did not end here – the monitoring mechanism continued.  Wishing the delegation a safe return home, she asked them to inform the Committee whenever an institutional reform was made in relation to enforced disappearances.

KARLA CUEVA, Secretary of State in the Human Rights Office, in concluding remarks, said the Government of Honduras believed it had taken significant steps to comply with the Convention.  However, it was aware that challenges remained. In particular, she expressed her thanks and highlighted the will and desire of Honduras to work with the treaty bodies.  She thanked civil society organizations for their work, which allowed the country to tackle the problems in a more efficient and collaborative manner.  She assured the Committee and civil society members that the Government would do everything it could to incorporate all the provisions of the Convention.  She thanked the Committee for the candid and open dialogue.

SUELA JANINA, Committee Chairperson, in concluding remarks, thanked the delegation for the open and frank dialogue.  She also thanked the representatives of civil society and family members, noting that they were a very important pillar for ensuring the fight against enforced disappearances with their contributions, and hoped the communication with them would continue freely and without intimidations.  She wished the delegation a safe journey.


For use of the information media; not an official record

CED18.02E