IACHR Condemns Murder of Public Prosecutor Karen Almendares in Honduras

June 7, 2022

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of public prosecutor Karen Almendares in Honduras and urges the State to conduct a prompt and diligent investigation and punish anyone found responsible for her death.

Karen Almendares, a special public prosecutor for the environment, was reportedly murdered on May 27, 2022, by two unknown attackers who shot her as she tried to enter her home in the municipality of Nacaome, in the Valle department. Following these events, officers of the Police Investigations Department (DPI, by its Spanish acronym) arrived at the site to launch an investigation. The Honduran government publicly condemned this murder.

In its country reports of 2019 and 2015, the Commission noted the persistence of violence and threats to the independence and personal integrity of judicial officers in Honduras. These reports documented death threats, murders, assault, intimidation, harassment, and interference that made it difficult for judicial officers to do their work independently and impartially.

The IACHR stresses that the State has a duty to protect the safety of judicial officers from all forms of internal and external pressure to prevent a serious impact on their institutional functions, and to ensure the free conduct of judicial efforts and preserve access to justice for victims of human rights violations. The IACHR therefore urges the State of Honduras to conduct a comprehensive, serious, and impartial investigation that enables prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators and masterminds of the murder of public prosecutor Karen Almendares.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 128/22

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