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Honduras, a military culture based on human rights

Honduras continues to train in human rights and international humanitarian law. The Human Rights Department of the Honduras Ministry of Defense (SEDENA), with the support of the Human Rights Initiative (HRI) of the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), will hold the Honduras Human Rights Initiative Seminar on August 9-11, 2022. did. in Tegucigalpa.

Secretary of State for the Defense Agency José Manuel Zelaya Rosales at the opening ceremony of the Honduras Human Rights Initiative Seminar. (Photo: Honduras Secretary of Defense)

International guests from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Peru attended the event, along with representatives of the Honduran Armed Forces. Costa Rica Center for Human Rights Research, Training and Analysis. William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. International Committee of the Red Cross of Mexico. and SOUTHCOM’s Women, Peace, and Security Program (WPS) shared their experiences on this subject.

“The new state government, headed by President and Military Commander Xiomara Castro, has promised from day one to enhance the professionalization of the military and is committed to creating a space for military training based on respect and respect. We will protect and at the same time guarantee full trust and ethical behavior to our citizens,” said José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, Secretary of State of the Honduran Ministry of Defense, welcoming attendees. “For Cedena and the Honduran Armed Forces, it is an honor to have this conference within the framework of Southcom’s HRI, which aims to develop an institutional culture that respects democratic values, human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Laura F. Doug, US Ambassador to Honduras, said: Developing an HRI Consensus Document…Today, Honduras is an active member of this initiative, demonstrating its commitment to human rights practice and military education. “

Honduras joined HRI in 2005 and is one of 11 countries that make up HRI, along with Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Since then, the Honduran military has carried out a series of activities on human rights, international humanitarian law, gender equality, and more. Each unit now has its own Human Rights and Gender Equality Division and respective sections at the unit level, as well as bases and research centers to advance knowledge on the subject. As of July 2022, over 19,298 military personnel have received training on this subject.

Human rights and gender integration

3. Coronel
Colonel Mario Israel Martínez Lopez, head of the Human Rights Department of the Honduran Armed Forces. (Photo: Honduran Army Corporal Olvin Oliva/Fuerzas Armadas TV)

The role of the military in the areas of human rights, the use of force, human rights and climate change. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the light of international humanitarian law. Military Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response, and the WPS Program are among his seminar topics.

The seminar also covered the experiences of the Human Rights Policy of the Colombian Armed Forces, the Dominican School of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and the Center for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights of the Peruvian Armed Forces.

4. Colonel Medina
Colonel Rita Maria Medina Sevilla, Head of Military Health for the Honduran Armed Forces, speaks about the history of women’s inclusion in her country’s armed forces. (Photo: Honduran Army Corporal Olvin Oliva/Fuerzas Armadas TV)

“Human rights training has always been very important to us. The first is that each Member State, like all societies around the world, understands that the highest purpose of the State is to ensure and respect human dignity.”

Colonel Rita Maria Medina Sevilla, Head of Military Health of the Honduran Armed Forces, spoke of the integration of women into her national armed forces. “The key is equality, equal opportunity, and the entry of women into fields previously reserved only for men. This is reflected in the fact that we expect women to rise to the rank of general.”

Attendees received certificates of participation and pledged to continue training on human rights and gender integration.