MORE DECLASSIFICATION NEEDED FOR HONDURAS
HON. ELIZABETH FURSE
in the House of Representatives
MONDAY, JUNE 24, 1996
- Ms. FURSE. Mr. Speaker, it was a privilege that Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza, human rights ombudsman for the nation of Honduras, was here in Washington, DC, earlier this month. He was the featured speaker at a briefing hosted here on Capitol Hill by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, of which I am a member.
- The Honduran Government, through its National Commission for Human Rights headed by Dr. Valladares, is making a concerted effort to identify and prosecute those persons responsible for human rights violations in their country in the 1980's.
- The Clinton administration is making strides in beginning the process of declassifying documents that no longer need to remain secret. In response to a request submitted to the United States Ambassador in Tegucigalpa by the Honduran Government on August 1 of last year, this administration agreed to expedite the declassification of documents relevant to Honduras.
- Documents were requested from several Government agencies, including the Departments of State and Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Army. While the Department of State has been quite forthcoming with information, I am told that these other agencies have yet to make information available to Honduran authorities.
- The sooner declassified documents can be released the better as the information they contain may serve as evidence in ongoing and future court proceedings against rights violations. Prompt declassification will help promote the independence of the judiciary system and strengthen democracy in Honduras.