Honduras president appoints first-ever secretary for human rights

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — On Tuesday, Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández appointed Karla Cuevas as the first ever secretary for human rights to lead a newly created ministry for human rights. The new secretary will take office on January 27, the first day of the Hernández administration’s second term.

Cuevas previously served as the vice minister of human rights and justice at Honduras’s ministry of human rights, justice, governance and decentralization.

“This new cabinet-level ministry will strengthen the entire structure of human rights protection in the country,” Hernández said. “The appointment will strengthen security measures and strengthen protection policies for human rights defenders, journalists, social communicators and justice operators.”

The ministry will have a budget of 96 million lempiras — more than $4 million — to reinforce existing security protections for human rights activists and to protect all Hondurans from infringements on their human rights.

Hernández announced the creation of the new ministry last May in a speech to the Honduran Association of Journalists, saying that he was elevating the Office of the Undersecretary for Human Rights to a cabinet-level body. .

The establishment of the ministry for human Rights is part of the Hernández administration’s push to strengthen domestic security and stimulate economic growth. Earlier this month, Honduran law enforcement officials announced that Honduras’s homicide rate fell by more than 25 percent in 2017.

The Honduran central bank also reported this month that the Honduran economy grew by more than four percent in 2017.

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