Saturday, July 24, 2010

Honduras: I came from Canada because human rights have no borders

By Ida Garberi
Wednesday, July 21, 2010


“The truth should transcend frontiers. I came to support the fight for human rights” said the Craig Scott, member of the True Commission** promoted by the Platform for Human Rights. Scott is a Canadian Professor specialising in public and private international law, with a particular emphasis on human rights.

“Where you have justice you have no crime, and where there is crime, there is no press freedom; where there is crime, they hide it.” Fidel Castro.

“I am very happy to be in the True Commission. I am very optimistic about our work. We are a good group, whether we are the foreign or local commissioners, and I am sure that in spite of the amount and the difficulty of the work we do it to the best of our ability” Craig said to ‘lawyers on line’.

As to the question of how the members of the Commission of inquiry thought they might get to the truth, Craig told us that he is aware of the records compiled by organizations defending human rights in Honduras, the declarations of the OAS (Organisation of American States), the IACHR (Inter-American Commission of Human Rights), and the UN. “There is unfortunately, too much material. Now that we have official status it is up to us to do a lot of hard work.”

“In regard to new cases of human rights violations that are still ongoing today, we have to be on the alert to protect the integrity of the victims, given that in any country in the world in the same situation as Honduras it will be very difficult to give ultimate protection to the witnesses and the living victims” Professor Scott continued.

We asked Professor Scott if he wasn’t concerned for his own safety, given that during the time participants in the True Commission were staying in the Hotel Maya in Tegucigalpa, they were under surveillance by suspicious individuals, as evidenced on a video recording by the security staff of the same hotel.

“I’m not planning to take a lot of risks. My concern is for Hondurans, living in Honduras. I am extremely concerned about the safety of two Honduran members of the True Commission: Helen Humaña and Father Fausto Milla. I am also hoping that international pressures might protect those working with us … maybe I’m too optimistic”, said Craig, smiling.

“In fact, I have noticed subtle threats directed against us, the foreign members of the True Commission, while we were in the hotel, but none of that will stop us.” We, from (lawyers on the line) thanked the professor for that decision.

It is our opinion, as defenders of human rights, that at this particular point of time we are fighting a real war against the freedoms of the citizens of Honduras. How does it feel to be in the middle of this conflict?

Professor Scott stated that rather than a war he would define this as a struggle in which he is decisively aligned with the defence of human rights. The neutrality of the True Commission will be a guarantee to ensure true justice. He hopes that the results of the work of the True Commission will bring about not just cosmetic changes at the State level. He believes that it would not be enough to attempt to change the way people think, rather that there will be structural changes in Honduras, that ‘hopefully would be constitutional!’.

When asked if they would take into account those victims who had to go into exile because of the ongoing threats, Craig says that it is his dream that the final finding of the True Commission might make a big difference to the condition of the country, to the extent that those in exile would be allowed to live peacefully in the country of their birth.

In conclusion Craig presents a message to the victims and all the Honduran people, asserting that it will the duty of himself and the True Commission to ensure that the world comes to know in detail what is happening in Honduras after the coup, all the terrible human rights violations, “because we can’t allow a return to the terrible years of the 1980s, when Plan Condor killed and kidnapped hundreds and thousands of people with impunity.”

I believe it is important to regard the struggle of the Hondurans as an example to the world, and especially to Latin America.”

*Journalist of ‘’

** True Comission is the spanish translation of "Comisión de Verdad" opposite to the regime's Truth Comission "Comisión de la Verdad"

Translated by Fry Warwick