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Honduras: Persistent threats against human rights defender Ms Gladys Lanza Ochoa
The Honduran Government has yet to comply with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights order to take measures to safeguard the life of human rights defender Ms Gladys Lanza Ochoa despite continuous threats against her, as well as against her family members, most recently on 22 August 2012.
Gladys Lanza Ochoa is Coordinator of the Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla (Honduran Women's Committee for Peace "Visitación Padilla"), a collective of women human rights defenders from across Honduras who work on issues such as gender violence and women's participation in public life, in addition to advocating for democracy and human rights in Honduras.
On 22 August 2012, an unidentified man riding a black motorcycle without licence plates approached Gladys Lanza Ochoa in the street half a block from her home. The man, dressed all in black and wearing a black motorcycle helmet, asked her for directions, but the human rights defender, fearing for her safety, continued walking and entered a nearby business. Meanwhile, a black van with tinted windows and without licence plates appeared suddenly and drove slowly past.
A short while later when she thought the danger had passed, Gladys Lanza Ochoa left the premises where she had sought refuge only for the black motorcycle to reappear. Upon seeing her, the unidentified man turned the motorcycle around and drove away.
This incident is the latest in a series of threats and intimidatory acts against Gladys Lanza Ochoa. On 21 July 2010, Front Line Defenders issued an urgent appeal regarding death threats against the human rights defender. Furthermore, the urgent appeal issued by Front line Defenders on 5 April 2012 detailed acts of violence against Gladys Lanza Ochoa and her colleagues perpetrated by police. Family members have also reported being followed by unknown individuals who have at times taken photographs of them.
On 2 September 2010, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered provisional measures for the protection of Gladys Lanza Ochoa. Previously, on 24 July 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary protection measures for her and the State of Honduras accepted the request on 5 October 2009. However, to date neither of these orders have been complied with by the State of Honduras.
Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Gladys Lanza Ochoa, and believes that she continues to be harassed and threatened as a direct consequence of her peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights.