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Children take part in a Sunday School class in a Brethren In Christ church in Honduras.  Dan Marschka/MCC

Children take part in a Sunday School class in a Brethren In Christ church in Honduras. Dan Marschka/MCC

Call to prayer and action for Honduras

Rebecca Bartel and Daryl Yoder-Bontrager
October 2, 2009

AKRON, PA – Given the political turmoil in Honduras, the Latin America and the Caribbean program department of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) urgently asks that people everywhere pray for true justice and peace for the Honduran people, and call on their own governments to pressure Honduran authorities to act in ways that will bring peace.

MCC has been present in Honduras since the early 1980s and now works with 13 local partners and churches on projects that aim to bring justice, peace and development to the people of Honduras.

We are concerned about the June 28 military-led coup that deposed President Jose Manuel Zelaya and the subsequent actions of both the de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti and the ousted president. These actions have polarized the people of Honduras and deepened social conflict.

As the Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Hondureña (Honduran Evangelical Mennonite Church) said in a July 3 public statement, “What remains after the events of Sunday, June 28, is a divided and polarized Honduran society, living in a climate of uncertainty, insecurity and violence.”

We echo the call of our partners and the church in Honduras for dialogue and reconciliation among political leaders and within Honduran society.

We denounce the violations to human dignity by the de facto Micheletti government, including mass detentions, suspension of constitutional rights and violent repression of opposition. On September 28, the government suspended all civil liberties, creating deep fear and concern in the general population. Public news stations have been closed. Revistazo.com, an electronic news source produced by MCC partner Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa (Association for a More Just Society), is one of the only independent news sources in Honduras still operating.

We recognize that the reinstatement of Zelaya to the presidency is not a sufficient response to the growing polarization of Honduran society, nor will it respond to the urgent needs of the majority of the population, which lives in poverty.  We ask the international community to recognize the long-term response needed to bring sustainable justice and human security to Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

We call you to:

    - Pray for all Hondurans living within a frightening, unfolding reality.

    - Write to your government representative, asking for increased pressure on both sides of the political divide in Honduras to agree to the San Jose Accord, a proposal to end the country's ongoing political crisis. Exhort your representative to pressure the Micheletti government to immediately end all human rights violations and political repression. (For a sample letter, see  http://ajshonduras.org/honduras_political_crisis_advocacy_letter.htm.)

Rebecca Bartel, policy analyst
Daryl Yoder-Bontrager, director
Latin America and the Caribbean Department
Mennonite Central Committee