Hondurans Seek Justice for Murdered “Lawyer for the Poor”

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.–Honoring the life of murdered lawyer Dionisio Diaz Garcia, diplomats and officials in a half-dozen European and North American countries, along with US-based non-government partners such as the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (www.crwrc.org), are calling for justice this week in addressing Diaz’s murder in the Honduran capitol a year ago today.  

Diaz was shot to death in Tegucigalpa, on his way to court, on the morning of Monday, December 4, 2006. The murder appears to have been motivated by entities opposed to his defense of the rights of impoverished laborers in Honduras.

CRWRC contacts in Honduras report that the government investigation into Diaz’s death has been marred by corruption, negligence and incompetence despite attention from the international community.

A week of events, culminating on December 8, 2007, are being lead by the U.S.-based nonprofit, Association for a More Just Society (AJS), in Tegucigalpa.

AJS employed Diaz to provide free legal representation for indigent security guards and day laborers experiencing human rights abuses at the hands of their employers. 

Diaz was in contact with the Honduran Human Rights Commissioner in the months before his death to report illegal surveillance and threats on his own life. The lack of follow-up to threats before Diaz’s death continues today in mismanagement, delays, and failure to perform routine procedures by the Honduran government.

To commemorate Diaz’s life and renew the cry for justice in his death, a memorial service was held in the National Cathedral in Tegucigalpa. A press conference and public gathering are scheduled today, as well as a letter-writing campaign, prayer vigil, and meetings with Honduran diplomats around the world throughout the week.

AJS extends an open invitation to human rights and justice advocates around the world to join them in "Crying Out for Justice for Dionisio."

AJS anticipates that this week of advocacy events can pressure the Honduran government to increase the priority, quality, and seriousness of the investigation of Diaz’s murder, resulting in the apprehension of the perpetrators and authors of his assassination – and an important victory for justice in Honduras.

For information and links to this week’s activities on behalf of Diaz and a more just society in Honduras, call Abram Huyser-Honig at 1-800-897-1135. For information online, visit http://www.ajs-us.org/dionisio or see http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR370072006?open&of=ENG-HND for background.

For more information about contacting Honduran Consulates in the U.S. on behalf of Diaz, call Jason Fileta, Office of Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, at 616-241-1691.

CRWRC is a non-profit agency of the Christian Reformed Church in North America providing a ministry of development, relief, and justice education to people in need around the world.  CRWRC is currently active in 30 countries and has an international reputation for "helping people help themselves."