Menendez Leads Bipartisan Group in Requesting the Trump Administration Support a Clean Extension of OAS Anti-corruption Mission in Honduras

Menendez Leads Bipartisan Group in Requesting the Trump Administration Support a Clean Extension of OAS Anti-corruption Mission in Honduras

 

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sent a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mike Kozak supporting the clean and swift renewal of the Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH). The MACCIH is an initiative of the Organization of American States (OAS). 

 “As Honduras continues to struggle with challenging levels of criminal impunity—which fuel societal violence and force Hondurans to flee their country—it is imperative that MACCIH be allowed to continue its work to advance transparency and accountability without any changes to its existing mandate.” wrote the Senators.  

This week, officials from the Government of Honduras and the Organization of American States are meeting to discuss the terms of the renewal. Open media reports suggest that there are attempts to modify the MACCIH’s mandate, which would trigger a much longer process of renewal, stall the Mission’s current work, and may even lead to the end of its operations.

“Over the past decade, both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress have supported efforts to mitigate factors driving irregular migration to the United States. We believe that mechanisms like MACCIH are fundamental to promoting the rule of law, strong judicial systems, and improved governance—essential factors to help Central American citizens find safety and opportunity in their own countries and communities,” concluded the Senators. 

A copy of the letter can be found here.

 

January 9, 2020

 

The Honorable Michael Kozak

Acting Assistant Secretary of State

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20520

 

Dear Acting Assistant Secretary Kozak:

We write to express our steadfast support for the swift renewal of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH). As Honduras continues to struggle with challenging levels of criminal impunity—which fuel societal violence and force Hondurans to flee their country—it is imperative that MACCIH be allowed to continue its work to advance transparency and accountability without any changes to its existing mandate.

Since its creation in 2016, MACCIH has provided important investigative support to the Honduran Public Prosecutor’s Office. To date, there are at least 115 cases currently under investigation that are supported by MACCIH. To that end, the Mission plays a crucial role in Honduras’ fight against impunity and is integral to the country’s efforts to uphold the rule of law.

As you know, OAS officials are meeting with the Government of Honduras this week to discuss the terms of the MACCIH renewal. Media reports suggest that the Honduran government seeks to modify the MACCIH mandate—an action that would trigger a much longer process of renewal, stall the Mission’s current work, and may even lead to the end of its operations. 

Over the past decade, both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress have supported efforts to mitigate factors driving irregular migration to the United States. We believe that mechanisms like MACCIH are fundamental to promoting the rule of law, strong judicial systems, and improved governance—essential factors to help Central American citizens find safety and opportunity in their own countries and communities.  

We have seen your statements in support of the MACCIH and commend your efforts to advocate for the swift renewal of its mandate. It is imperative that the United States continue to stand with the Honduran people in their pursuit of transparency and accountability.

 

Sincerely,

 

###