Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my deep concern about the steady deterioration of human rights in Honduras since the June 2009 coup d'état. In recent months, attacks against journalists; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) advocates; land rights activists and other vulnerable communities have increased. I want to draw particular attention to a few tragic deaths that occurred just this month: on May 1st, Santos Alberto Dominguez, a member of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH), was murdered. On May 8th, Erick Martinez, a well-known LGBTI activist, was found dead in a gutter. And on May 9th, Alfredo Villatoro--a popular radio show host--was kidnapped on his way to work and has not been heard from since.
These deaths come amidst numerous reports of abuses committed by Honduran security forces. And yet the vast majority of these abuses as well as Mr. Dominguez and Mr. Martinez's deaths have yet to be investigated and prosecuted. I have repeatedly requested that all U.S. assistance to Honduran police and military forces be suspended as long as Honduran authorities fail to investigate and prosecute these abuses. It is a travesty that U.S. taxpayers dollars are bolstering abusive security forces.
But while the situation in Honduras continues to deteriorate, I am encouraged by the important work of Honduran human rights organizations. These groups are on the frontlines of justice, documenting human rights abuses and offering the support and legal representation that the Honduran state fails to provide. Yet these organizations are receiving threats of sexual violence--particularly targeted at female human rights workers--and death threats without any form of effective protection from the Honduran authorities. There has also been a troubling escalation of threats against international human rights accompaniers. All of these threats must be immediately investigated, and the individuals and groups that are behind them must be brought to justice.
Mr. Speaker, I will continue to support human rights in Honduras. The people of Honduras deserve their rights. They deserve their freedoms. And they deserve peace. They have suffered too much. Justice cannot wait a moment longer.