Washington College of Law|
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
RESOLUTION No 5/85
Case No 7956 (HONDURAS)
March 5, 1985
- In a communication dated January 19, 1982, the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received the following
Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge, a Honduran citizen, was imprisoned
and ordered deported on July 21, 1981, without due trial by a
competent authority. The person responsible was the Director
General for Population and Migration Policies.
- Mr. Monge is a Honduran by birth and the son of a Honduran
- He was accused of being a Salvadoran citizen, despite the
fact that he had submitted personal documents certifying his
- A petition for Habeas Corpus was presented but the fact of
his arrest was denied; a remedy of amparo was also brought,
which was declared to be unfounded.
- In a note dated February 1, 1982, the Commission asked the
Government of Honduras for information on the case, as well as for
any facts that would enable the IACHR to determine whether or not all
domestic legal remedies has been exhausted.
- In a letter of May 7, 1982, the claimant forwarded to the
Commission a copy of the text of the remedy of amparo brought on
behalf of Mr. Monge, together with the court's writ declaring it to
- On May 12, 1982, the Commission asked the claimant for
updated information on this case, particularly with regard to any
administrative or judicial decisions presented, and his opinion as
to whether friendly settlement could be reached with the Government
- Through a communication dated May 24, 1982, the Commission
informed the Government of Honduras of the possible application of
Article 39 of the Regulations if the pertinent information was not
received within a reasonable period of time.
- By letter of July 13, 1982, the Government of Honduras
informed the IACHR that the initial letter dated February 1 that year
had not been received through official channels and that said
communication had been sent to the offices in charge of carrying out
the required investigations.
- On December 7, 1982, the Commission reported to the
claimant that the IACHR had examined this case at its 58th Session
and agreed that, before having recourse to Article 42 of the
Regulations regarding the friendly settlement of problems, it would
once again approach the Government of Honduras in order to learn what
its position was with regard to the petition submitted.
- Through a note dated December 7, 1982, the Commission
informed the Government of Honduras that at its 58th Session it had
been agreed to again ask the Government to provide information on
- In notes dated January 7 and February 14, 1983, the
claimant added some observations to the denunciation, expanding on
the original grounds for the complaint brought.
- In a letter dated January 30, 1983, the Government of
Honduras informed the Commission as follows:
If Mr. Monge satisfactorily proves his Honduran nationality
beyond doubt, the country's authorities would have no objection
to authorizing his entry into Honduras in accordance with the
laws in force.
- By letter dated February 9, 1983, the Commission
acknowledged receipt of the Honduran Government's letter of January
30, 1983 in reply to the Commission's requests for information and
proposed a friendly settlement of the matter as provided in Article
48 paragraphs d) and f) of the American Convention on Human Rights and in Article 42.1 of the
Regulations of the Commission. The Commission stipulated that the
answer regarding acceptance of the friendly settlement procedure
should reach it before beginning of its next session.
- The Commission replied to the claimant's letter of January
2, 1983, in a letter dated February 9, 1983, as follows:
The Commission has decided to offer its good offices to the
Government of Honduras and the claimant, in his capacity as
petitioner and legal representative of Mr. Monge, in order to
arrive at a friendly settlement of this matter, in accordance
with the provisions contained in Article 48, paragraph d) and
f) of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 42.1
of the Regulations of the Commission.
- In a communication dated March 4, 1983, the Government of
Honduras replied to the Commission as follows:
In this regard, I am pleased to inform you that my Government,
in keeping with its democratic vocation and its respect for
human rights, is studying said proposal; to this end, it must
carry out a prior analysis of certain documents related to this
- Subsequently, on March 24, 1983, the Government of Honduras
requested additional information from the Commission, in the
From the documents presented by the Department of Migration, it
has been attested that Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge, who worked as a
CARITAS volunteer in the refugee camps set up for Salvadorans
in Honduras, was arrested by the competent authority on evidence
that he had provided the Salvadoran guerrillas with 80
bedspreads and 800 lbs. of corn removed from the storeroom of
that Institution, a fact that was subsequently admitted by the
In a statement made to the authorities, Mr. Monge declared that
he was in Berlín, Department of Usulutlán, Republic of El
Salvador, on October 30, 1938.
At the time of his arrest, he was found to be carrying documents
that would make it appear that he was a Honduran national. The
Director of the National Archives was asked to check the birth
certificate against the original, but this proved impossible
because the birth had not been recorded in the corresponding
book. The search was carried out in the book covering the
period from April 29, 1938 to May 28, 1939.
As a result of the foregoing, the Department of Migration
subjected the birth certificate held by Mr. Monge to a thorough
examination and reached the conclusion that said identity
document was not absolute proof of his Honduran nationality,
since it lacked the necessary references, such as page, book and
year of registration.
In corroboration of the above, I attach photocopies of the
- Communication No. 148-82 dated August 6, 1982, from the
Director General for Population and Migration Policies;
- Two statements, both dated March 10, 1983, issued by the
Director of the National Archives; and
- One statement dated July 22, 1981, issued by the Migration
Officer of the Toncontín Airport.
- Note from the Department of Migration, dated March 23,
- In a telex dated April 4, 1983, Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge's
legal representative confirmed his acceptance of the friendly
settlement procedure proposed by the Commission in accordance with
the American Convention on Human Rights.
- On August 2, 1983, the Commission addressed the Government
of Honduras as follows:
Pursuant to our note dated February 9, 1983, the Commission
would like to know whether your illustrious Government has
reached a decision as to the acceptance of the friendly
settlement proposal made by the Commission, in accordance with
the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights. We
would appreciate a reply at your earliest convenience, to enable
the Commission to consider this case at its next session, to be
held in the month of June.
The Commission likewise requests that your distinguished
Government comment on the claimant's assertion that Mr. Monge's
mother, Mrs. Petronila Monge, is a Honduran national by birth,
a fact that under Article 23 of the Constitution of the Republic
grants her son Honduran citizenship. We attach copies of the
corresponding birth and baptismal certificates. Lastly, we wish
to inform Your Excellency that the claimant has expressed his
willingness to accept the peaceful settlement procedure
suggested by the Commission.
- In a letter dated May 2, 1983, the IACHR wrote to the
claimant to request his comments on the Government's reply dated
March 24, 1983 and a certified copy of the birth certificate of Mr.
- In a communication dated June 19, 1983, the Government of
Honduras informed the Commission as follows:
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR AND JUSTICE. DEPARTMENT OF POPULATION.
May 24, 1983. Communication No. DGPE 264-83. The Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Lic. Arnulfo Pineda López. In reply to your
Communication No. 605-DGPE enclosing photocopies from the
Executive Secretary of the "Organization of American States for
Human Rights", Edmundo Vargas Carreño, as well as the birth
certificate of Mr. Monge's mother. In this regard, the
Department of Population and Migration Policies has decided as
follows: that Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge, of Salvadoran nationality
and deported from this country, may, by virtue of being the son
of a Honduran mother, proceed to take the necessary legal steps
to obtain a birth certificate as a Honduran citizen. Dem. Inf.
Col. Manuel Enrique Suarez Benavides. Director General.
- The Commission contacted the claimant in this case to
transmit the reply received from the Government of Honduras and to
request that he keep us informed of the progress made in the legal
procedures required to obtain Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge's birth
certificate as a Honduran citizen, to enable him to return to
- On May 4, 1984, the Commission telexed the Government of
Honduras to enquire whether Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge had obtained
Honduran nationality and whether he was already residing in that
- By telex dated May 15, 1984, the Government of Honduras
replied as follows:
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR AND JUSTICE. DEPARTMENT OF POPULATION.
TEGUCIGALPA, MAY 15, 1984. P.O. BOX 494. COMMUNICATION No.
DGP-229-84. HEAD CLERK, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, LIC. JUAN
ALBERTO LARA BUESO. HEAD CLERK'S OFFICE. SIR: THIS IS IN
RESPONSE TO YOUR NOTE No. 493-DGPE WITH WHICH YOU ENCLOSED COPY
OF NOTE CIDH/84/038 FROM THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN
RIGHT REQUESTING INFORMATION ABOUT MR. LUIS ALONZO MONGE
SANCHEZ, OF SALVADORAN NATIONALITY. IN THIS CONNECTION, AN
EXHAUSTIVE EXAMINATION OF OUR FILES WAS CARRIED OUT IN SEARCH
OF MIGRATORY MOVEMENTS BY THE SUBJECT; NOTHING AT ALL WAS FOUND
AND THE SEARCH WAS THEREFORE BROUGHT TO AN END. WITH NOTHING
FURTHER TO REPORT, I REMAIN, SIR, YOURS SINCERELY, LIC. SERGIO
FLORES TOSCANO. DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR POPULATION.
ON THE CASE IN POINT, I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REPEAT THE TEXT
OF MY COMMUNICATION No. 749-DGPE DATED JUNE 14, 1983, WHICH
CONTAINS THE DECISION MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF POPULATION AND
MIGRATION POLICIES TO THE EFFECT THAT MR. LUIS ALONZO MONGE, OF
SALVADORAN NATIONALITY AND DEPORTED FROM THIS COUNTRY, MAY, BY
VIRTUE OF BEING THE SON OF A HONDURAN MOTHER, PROCEED TO TAKE
THE NECESSARY LEGAL STEPS TO OBTAIN A BIRTH CERTIFICATE AS A
HONDURAN CITIZEN, WHICH DECISION I BEG BE TRANSMITTED TO THE
CLAIMANT. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES OF PROCEDURE GOVERNING
THE OPERATION OF THAT COMMISSION, SO THAT THE SUBJECT MAY
INITIATE APPROPRIATE PROCEEDINGS IN CONFORMITY WITH THE LAWS
IN EFFECT IN HONSURAS.
- At its 62nd Regular Session, the Commission examined this
case and agreed to ask Mr. Monge's legal representative to submit
observations on the Government's reply transcribed in the foregoing
paragraph, specifically addressing the following points:
What are the legal procedures to be followed for Mr.
Monge's status as a Honduran national by birth to be recognized,
in accordance with the Honduran Government's letter?
- In view of the physical impossibility of securing a
baptismal certificate attesting to the fact that Mr. Monge was
born on Honduran territory, would Mr. Monge be willing to follow
such a procedure, in order to be able to return to Honduras and
join his family?
- Are there any legal or other well-founded impediments to
compliance with the procedures established by law for Mr.
Monge's registration as a Honduran national?
- The Commission also decided to send the Government of
Honduras a questionnaire to obtain data essential to an analysis of
this case. The questionnaire covered the following:
Is the illustrious Government of Honduras willing to accept
the friendly settlement procedures suggested by the Commission
in its notes dated February 9, 1983, and May 2, 1983, as
provided in Article 48 f) of the American Convention on Human
Rights? This with a view to complying with Articles 49 and 51
of the Convention which regulate procedures for individual
- The Commission would like to know what legal procedures
and/or measures need to be taken by Mr. Monge in order to obtain
Honduran nationality, since it would appear that Article 23 of
the Constitution accords him that status with no further
- Bearing in mind the fact that Mr. Monge is living outside
the country with very limited means at his disposal, could the
Government of Honduras initiate and expedite the necessary legal
procedures for his recognition as a Honduran national?
- It is of the highest importance for the Commission to have
the above information and a reply from your illustrious
Government before the start of its next regular Session, to be
held in the month of September, 1984, at which time it is hoped
that this case can be successfully concluded.
- On August 24, 1984, the Government of Honduras sent copies
of the opinions rendered by the Ministry of the Interior and Justice
and the Department of Population and Migration Policies, which
replied to points b) and c) above, but made no reference to the
acceptance of the friendly settlement procedure.
- In a communication dated August 30, 1984, the IACHR
transmitted the Honduran Government's reply to Mr. Monge's legal
representative, asking for his comments.
- In a note dated October 3, 1984, the claimant observed that
"the opinions of the Government of Honduras are not in keeping with
the facts, for they take for granted that Mr. Monge was not born in
Honduras, something the Government has been unable to prove to date."
- On November 23, 1984, the Government of Honduras again
addressed the Commission, transmitting the following decision:
...I am pleased to inform you that the competent authorities of
my country, after again analyzing the case and with a view to
allowing Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge to plead and prove according to
law the facts on which the relevant portions of the claim were
based, have decided to authorize the entry of said person into
Honduran territory. I beg you to communicate this decision to
the claimant, in accordance with the rules of procedure
governing the operations of that Organization...
- The above reply was transmitted to the claimant on December
12, 1984. Nothing further has been heard to date.
- As is expressly stated in the background information given
above, the Commission on its own initiative carried out negotiations
with the parties involved in this case in an effort to reach a
friendly settlement, based on the respect for human rights as set out
in the American Convention on Human Rights.
- The Government of Honduras has expressed its willingness
to settle this case and to this end has decided to allow Mr. Monge
to enter Honduran territory in order to plead and prove his Honduran
nationality according to law.
- The claimant informed the Commission that he accepted the
conditions proposed by the Government which had been duly notified
- Article 49 of the American Convention on Human Rights
establishes that if a friendly settlement has been reached in
accordance with paragraph 1.f of Articles 48 of the Convention, the
Commission shall draw up a report which shall be transmitted to the
States Parties to the Convention and communicated to the Secretary
General of the Organization of American States for publication.
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
- To exhort the Government of Honduras to grant Mr. Luis
Alonzo Monge a safe conduct to enable him to enter Honduran territory,
in accordance with the terms of its communication of November 23,
- To exhort the claimant in this matter to carry out the
necessary legal procedures to obtain Honduran nationality under the
conditions accepted by the Government of Honduras.
- To consider the friendly settlement procedure followed in
the matter of Mr. Luis Alonzo Monge's nationality completed.
- To express to the Government of Honduras and to the
claimant the Commission's satisfaction at having reached a friendly
settlement of this matter, based on the respect of human rights.
- To thank the parties involved in this case for the
cooperation they gave the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
in the performance of its duties.
- To communicate this report to the Secretary General of the
Organization of American States for publication, in accordance with
Article 49 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 42
of the Regulations of the Commission.