(Toronto, March 24, 2014) – In February 2012, Honduran journalist Dina Meza received two text messages that threatened her with sexual violence and death. The messages were signed Commando Alvarez Martinez, a pseudonym that is often used in Honduras to threaten human rights activists and journalists with torture, rape, and death. Ostensibly, the intent behind these messages was to stop her investigative reporting in Honduras. Ever since the 2009 coup, 32 journalists in the country have been murdered and many more, like Meza, continue to work in the face of such threats. According to a recent report by PEN Canada, PEN International, and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program, titled Honduras: Journalism in the Shadow of Impunity, much of this violence is wrought by the state itself, and its corrupt police force. These messages were not the only threats that Meza has received and she and her three children are regularly harassed, living in constant fear of retribution for Meza’s work.
Now this week, thanks to the work of Canadians, Dina Meza will tell her story and publicly testify in Washington D.C. about the impunity and violence journalists like her face in Honduras.
PEN and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s International Human Rights Program, have been granted a public hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, March 25. This is the first time that the Commission has agreed to hear such a matter raised by the Canadian chapter of the freedom of expression organization and the report’s key points will be read into the official record. Also, representatives of the Honduran government will be present and will have the opportunity to publicly respond to the report.
The full January 2014 Report: Honduras: Journalism in the Shadow of Impunity is available at: http://pencanada.ca/news/journalism-in-the-shadow-of-impunity-honduras/
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PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right, at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada.
PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, our global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. Our campaigns, events, publications and programmes aim to connect writers and readers wherever they are in the world. PEN International is a non-political organization which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO. www.pen-international.org
The International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law enhances the legal protection of existing and emerging international human rights obligations through advocacy, knowledge-exchange, and capacity-building initiatives that provide experiential learning opportunities for students and legal expertise to civil society. ihrp.law.utoronto.ca