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Physician leaders call for end to violence in Honduras

14 June 2019 World Medical Association

The World Medical Association has called on the President of Honduras to bring to an immediate end the use of violence against protesters striking against the government’s health and education reforms.

The protests, led largely by doctors and teachers against the privatization of education and public health services, have resulted in a national strike and violent clashes between police and protesters.

Now the President of the WMA, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, has written to the President of Honduras, Mr Juan Orlando Hernandez, urging him to bring an immediate end to the violence against protesters and to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the use of violence, bringing to justice security force found to have ill-treated demonstrators or other members of the public.

In addition, Dr. Eidelman calls on the President to open a dialogue with demonstrators, including physicians’ leaders, to seek consensus for a prompt solution to the problem based on their claims.

Dr. Eidelman supports the recent call from the Latin American and Caribbean Medical Confederation to the authorities of Honduras to strengthen the health system of the country and protect the right to health of the population.

In his letter, Dr. Eidelman says: ‘We are very concerned to note the extreme repression of these demonstrations by the police, charging demonstrators brutally and using tear gas. We are also informed that the physical safety and life of leaders and members of the board of directors of the medical school of Honduras have been threatened’. He adds: ‘We deplore the fact that physicians’ leaders are exposed to threats to their life’.

‘We condemn in the strongest terms the use of violence and threats against protesters. Such acts constitute a severe violation of international human rights standards, including the freedom of expression and assembly as stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Honduras ratified in 1997’.