United Nations spokesperson Elizabeth Throsell urged Friday the Honduran government, led by President Juan Orlando Hernandez, to adhere to international human rights law in policing demonstrations against electoral fraud planned for this weekend.
The Opposition Alliance led by Salvador Nasralla and coordinated by former President Manuel Zelaya has announced nationwide demonstrations and strikes beginning Saturday. The demonstrations will last one week, until Jan. 26 when Hernandez is scheduled to be sworn into office.
According to the U.N. at least 22 people have been killed during post-electoral protests between Nov. 29 and Dec. 22. Throsell confirmed "we have verified information that 13 of these deaths were at the hands of security forces," and reiterated a call on the Honduran authorities to "avoid using the military police and the armed forces to police demonstrations."
A member of the Liberal Party has questioned the Honduran government response to the announced demonstrations: "When you lose the elections and by force want to remain in power, Mr. President, it is you who extend an invitation to dialogue? You, who points machine guns at the people?"
Meanwhile later Nasralla rejected Friday a proposal by sitting President Hernandez to join a "national dialogue," claiming his participation would be "unacceptable" for the people who voted for him and "who feel robbed of their right to freely elect their representatives."
However, Nasralla also opened the possibility of a dialogue if it guarantees "international mediation" by either the Organization of American States or the U.N., and if its "goal is to find a way out of the post-electoral crisis, that keeps the people on the streets and determined to remain there until their will is respected."
The developments come as Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal, TSE, which is headed by a member of of the president’s party, bestowed upon incumbent Hernandez the credentials officially declaring him president for the next four years in the wake of last year's widely disputed elections.
Aside from the fact that it took almost a month for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to announce the results of last month’s election, the opposition's main concern about the results came after Hernandez began to pull ahead after an hours-long technical problem caused the TSE system to "go down".
The sitting president steadily began to overcome Nasralla’s original five percent lead with over half of ballots counted, which experts had said would be irreversible. The OAS has disputed the results and called for new elections, while its election mission had told TSE employees that they believed Nasralla had won the elections, according to reports earlier this week.