Honduras passes law to protect journalists, judicial workers

Saturday, April 18, 2015

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TEGUCIGALPA, 2015 (AFP) — Honduras' Congress has passed a law offering special protection to journalists, human rights activists and judicial workers operating in a country with the world's highest murder rate.

The measure was unanimously approved late Wednesday by 128 deputies across seven parties. President Juan Orlando Hernandez must sign the law for it to go into force.

Violence-plagued Honduras has seen the murder of 53 journalists killed since 2003 and 94 legal professionals and human rights advocates since 2010.

The law would establish a panel under the ministry of justice and human rights to investigate threats against journalists, rights activists or judicial workers.

The panel would then decide on appropriate steps to protect the people at risk, even arranging to send them out of the country if necessary.

Honduras is due to report in May to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which had recommended it do more to protect these groups.

An estimated 90 per cent of crimes go unpunished in Honduras, which has the highest murder rate in the world of 68 murders per every 100,000 people, according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

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