The right to justice; the right to information and freedom of expression
Stigmatization campaign; obstacles to excercising the right to defend rights
THE FACTS – Dunia Montoya’s profession is journalism. Due to a number of attacks she has suffered and the specific situation of risk that she faces due to her work, she has been granted a Protection Mechanism for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders in Honduras.
She is now in Guatemala to denounce and monitor the arbitrary arrest and criminalization of her companion Bartolo Fuentes. A journalist and former member of Congress in Honduras, he was arrested by the Guatemalan police, turned over to migration authorities, and confined in a migrant shelter in Guatemala City while awaiting the outcome of court proceedings that could result in his expulsion from the country for alleged “illegal entry.”
Bartolo Fuentes was accompanying the Migrant Caravan that set out from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, last October 14th. His arrest, along with an intense stigmatization campaign, appears to be based on selective political criteria related to the migration policies of the United States government and complicity with these on the part of the governments of Honduras and Guatemala.
Dunia Montoya has publicly denounced the situation of her companion, the stigmatization campaign against him and the Caravan, and the institutional obstacles that she faces in order to assist in the defense and exercise her right to justice and to the defense of the rights of Bartolo Fuentes, all of which places her and her family in an obvious risk situation.
Accordingly, we of IM-Defensoras and the respective national networks of women human rights defenders in Honduras and Guatemala demand that the governments of both countries guarantee the safety and security of Dunia Montoya and her right to accompany her companion Bartolo Fuentes and defend his rights. We also demand his immediate release and guarantees for the protection of all those participating in the Migrant Caravan. In the same vein, we call on the international community to express its solidarity with Dunia Montoya, Bartolo Fuentes and the Migrant Caravan, explicitly rejecting the migration policies promoted by the United States government and followed by all of the governments in the region.