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Recent coup oppresses Honduran people, ousted leader tells General Assembly

29 September 2009 – With a “dictatorship” having taken over Honduras, the recent coup d’état is oppressing the people of the Latin American nation, ousted President Jose Manuel Zelaya has told the General Assembly, calling for the assistance of the United Nations in restoring the rule of law.

Mr. Zelaya – who is seeking shelter at the Brazilian embassy in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa – spoke by telephone to the Assembly during the address of Foreign Minister Patricia Isabel Rodas Baca to the annual high-level debate.

“I call on the United Nations to give assistance to reverse this coup and to ensure that democracy is available to all nations of the world,” he said last night.

Mr. Zelaya, who was ousted by the military in June, also appealed to “civilized nations of the world to maintain a firm position against barbarity.”

Current authorities have shut down media outlets, a move he characterized as a “serious crime.”

Civilized nations, he said, must take a stand against barbarism, he stressed, appealing to the United Nations to reverse the coup and ensure that democracy is spread to all of the world’s nations.

“No matter how small we are, we deserve no less than any other society,” Ms. Rodas Baca told heads of State and government gathered at UN Headquarters, paying tribute to Hondurans for their efforts to find a solution to the crisis.

On Friday, the Security Council stressed the need to ensure the security of the Brazilian embassy where Mr. Zelaya has been holed up for the past week.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated today that threats on the Brazilian embassy in Honduras are “unacceptable.”

Speaking to reporters in New York, he said international law is clear: sovereign immunity cannot be violated. “Threats to the embassy staff and premises are intolerable. The Security Council has condemned such acts of intimidation. I do as well, in the strongest terms.”

The top UN political official warned yesterday that any action taken against the embassy in would be a disaster.

“I must say the situation there took a seriously bad turn with the threats on the Brazilian embassy,” Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe told a news conference, referring to published reports that the de facto government has given the embassy 10 days to decide whether to grant Mr. Zelaya asylum or hand him over.

“It’s a very serious problem for all of us. It would be a disaster if any action were taken to violate international law on the inviolability of the embassies. We’re also concerned to see the worsening situation as the de facto government has been turning up the screws internally, closing media outlets and also taking state of emergency measures against the population.

“We’re very concerned about all of that and have been trying to work with others to see whether we can move that process forward,” he added, reiterating UN readiness to provide whatever help it can to resolve the crisis and its full support for the efforts of Costa Rican President Óscar Arias Sánchez to mediate the crisis.

During the Assembly’s high-level segment, many Latin American countries – including Brazil, Venezuela and Panama – have voiced their support for Mr. Zelaya’s return to power.

Today, Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Samuel Santos Lopez also condemned the coup during his address to the Assembly, saying that “from this moment we assert our definitive decision not to recognize the results of any electoral farce in that country.

“With this coup they sought to kill the democratic hopes and initiatives of the Honduran people, just as they sought to thwart the fraternal process that is the ALBA,” he added, referring to the bloc known as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas.

“The ‘ALBA’ is the basis for the horizontal and inclusive cooperation between our peoples. Its membership increases day by day.”

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