IACHR and RFOE: Honduras Must Guarantee International Standards During Selection of Attorney General

August 30, 2023

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Washington, D.C. - —The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RFOE) called on the State of Honduras to guarantee international standards of independence, impartiality, transparency, and gender parity during the process to appoint the country's new Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.

On August 31, the terms of office of the current Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General will come to an end. In accordance with national legislation, on September 1, the National Congress of Honduras must elect the new incumbents from five candidates presented by the Nominating Board.

The IACHR reiterates the importance of this process being governed by criteria of equality, non-discrimination, competence and expertise, merit, transparency, and broad citizen participation, as stated in the preliminary observations on its recent visit to the country. The State must prevent arbitrariness in the exercise of discretion by those involved in the selection process to ensure that it does not revolve around personal or political party interests that would interfere with selecting the best, most capable candidate for the job. These are essential components of representative democracy, the separation of powers, and the system of checks and balances that together guarantee civil liberties and human rights.

To guarantee transparency and access to information during this process, the IACHR deemed it important that the vote of members of the National Congress be public, well-founded, and well-motivated while guaranteeing gender parity.

The State reaffirmed to the IACHR its commitment to the transparent and fair election of the new Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the Public Ministry. The State stressed that, as part of this commitment, they approved the Nominating Board Regulations for the nomination of the corresponding candidacies.

Likewise, to safeguard its independence, the IACHR and the RFOE called on the State of Honduras to guarantee that the selection and appointment process complies with the minimum standards of merit, capacity, suitability, and honesty established by international human rights law, which in turn guarantees the autonomy and independence of the Attorney General's Office as the body responsible for guaranteeing access to justice, combating impunity, and enforcing human rights.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to encourage the defense of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the Americas, given the fundamental role that this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 204/23

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