Published on March 1, 2014
Ref. Ares(2014)443800 - 21/02/2014 EUROPEAN EXTERNAL ACTION SERVICE Brussels, 2 1 FEV. 2014 Mr. Hugo Roebroeck Director Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe Rue Joseph II, 40/8 B-1000 Brussels Dear Mr. Roebroeck, I thank you for your letter of 28 January 2014 to Baroness Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, whereby you express your concerns about the killings of lawyers in Honduras. The security situation in Honduras has severely deteriorated in the last years. With unsustainable levels of violence, Honduras scores at present the highest homicide rate in the world. This, combined with insufficient institutional capacity to tackle the problem, results in prevalent impunity that threatens the credibility of justice and security institutions. The EU shares its concern with the Honduran government, and constantly places human rights as a priority in the political dialogue with national authorities. Locally, the EU actively works with human rights organizations to collect information, assess the situation, and support them, including through public statements on specific occasions. This was the case in September 2012, when the EU publicly condemned the murder of a lawyer and a prosecutor involved in the protection of human rights, and called on the authorities to investigate and safeguard the physical integrity of defenders at risk. The EU remains a key actor and donor in the Security, Justice and Human Rights sector in Honduras. Ensuring that lawyers and justice operators can practice their profession freely, without intimidation or threats, is a fundamental principle of the rule of law. The EU is supporting the strengthening of the rule of law in Honduras through a new EU program (EuroJusticia). It will accompany national efforts aimed at promoting fair and accessible justice, and will support the development of institutional capacities to deliver an efficient and effective public service. European External Action Service - Service Européen d'Action Extérieure (EEAS - SEAE) 9A Rond Point Schuman - B-1046 Bruxelles - Belgium - Tel.: (32-2) 584 11 11 Office, Joyeuse, 03/195 - Telephone, direct line (32-2) 584 2342 E-mail : Roland.schaefer@eeas europa.eu
Through lhe Programa cie Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, the EU is equally committed to contribute to the improvement of governance and human rights in Honduras, by consolidating the rule of law and strengthening Government institutions in this area. In addition to the institutional cooperation, the EU continues to support Honduran civil society and human rights defenders through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. The EU will continue its commitment to Honduras' efforts to combat impunity and protect human rights and their defenders. 2
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