Washington College of Law
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Part III

El Salvador and Honduras

On June 25, 1969, the Government of El Salvador requested that the Commission or subcommittee be constituted within that country in order to verify a number of acts in violation in human rights perpetrated against Salvadorian nations in Honduras, as well as the massive expulsion of Salvadorian citizens from the latter country.

On the same date, the Government of Honduras transmitted to the Commission a denunciation of acts in violation of human rights committed by elements of the Salvadorian population against Honduran nationals who had entered El Salvador in order to attend a sports event. The Honduran Government also requested the presence of the Commission in its territory, in order to verify the acts denounced.

In view of the urgency of the situation, the Commission appointed a Subcommittee to visit both countries for the purpose of examining the situation regarding human rights on the spot.

From July 4 to 10, 1969, the Subcommittee visited the two countries and held interviews with the respective authorities, taking testimony from private individuals and receiving denunciations from the governments themselves with respect to the situation regarding human rights.

On July 14, hostilities began between El Salvador and Honduras, with the result that the Council of the Organization, acting provisionally as Organ of Consultation, approved a resolution on July 22, 1969, convoking the Thirteenth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

At the request of the Government of El Salvador and other American governments, the Preliminary Report of the Subcommittee was transmitted to the Meeting of Consultation on July 23, 1969, through the Secretary General of the Organization.[1]

 On July 25, the Government of Honduras denounced violations of human rights allegedly committed by the Government of El Salvador in Honduran towns occupied by the Salvadorian Army. On that occasion the Government of Honduras requested that the Commission constitute itself within that country, in order to verify these denunciations.

The Commission, at a special session held from August 5 to 7, 1969, approved a resolution whose operative part reads as follows

  1. To recommend to the governments of El Salvador and Honduras that they order the press and radio to cease all propaganda inducing acts of persecution or arousing the fear that such acts might occur. In the event that these communications media do not cease their disruptive propaganda voluntarily each government, in keeping with its own constitutional provisions, should adopt measures leading to that end.
  2. To recommend to the Government of Honduras that it order an investigation into the responsibility of the authorities for acts of commission or of omission in connection with acts of violence against Salvadorian residents, which have caused thousands of them to leave the country.
  3. To recommend to the Government of El Salvador that it order an investigation into the responsibility of the authorities for acts of commission or of omission in connection with acts of violence against Honduran visitors and insults to the national symbols of Honduras, which occurred between June 14 and 16, 1969.
  4. To inform the Governments of Honduras and El Salvador that the acts that have brought about the action of the Subcommittee are serious violations of human rights; and to request those governments to adopt all necessary measures to ensure effective remedies to make amends to those violations and to provide adequate protection against future violations of human rights.

Finally, at its twenty-third Session, held from April 6 to 16, 1970, the Commission agreed that the acts denounced to the Subcommittee, both in Honduras and in El Salvador, constituted serious violations of human rights, particularly the rights to life, to liberty, to personal security and integrity, to protection against arbitrary arrest, to property, and to residence and movement. It Observed further that the Governments of Honduras and El Salvador had not taken all measures necessary to make amends for these violations, as recommended by the Commission in its resolution of August 7, 1969.[2]

The Commission hopes and trusts that there will be no further delay in compliance with the recommendations made to the governments of the two countries in conflict, for both of them must be convinced that such compliance, besides resolving the past situation, will be the most effective means of preventing new violations of human rights in the future.

[1] Preliminary Report of the Subcommittee on Violations of Human Rights in Honduras and El Salvador (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.22, Doc.2, 15 July 1969 Restricted).

[2] OEA/Ser.L/V/II.23, Doc. 9.

[ Inter-American Human Rights Database ]