.- The Diocese of San Pedro de Sula has joined with family members of the victims of a May 2004 prison fire in a lawsuit against the State of Honduras and in a complaint filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR). In a statement, Bishop Angel Garachana Perez of San Pedro de Sula noted that more than a year has passed since the fire that took the lives of over 100 prisoners, and authorities still have not uncovered the facts surrounding the tragedy.
The bishop said he was not looking for a confrontation with the State, but “so many deaths and so much suffering cannot be in vain” In his statement, he called on authorities to reform the prison system to ensure, among other things, strict respect for human life.
“The State has the obligation to protect life in addition to the rehabilitation of those deprived of liberty, and therefore it is urgent and necessary that changes take place in the prison system,” Bishop Garachana said.
He stated that the reason for joining the complaint before the ICHR is to seek out the common good and to help the State “to fulfill its responsibility to maintain a prison system that rehabilitates and contributes to social coexistence.”
At the same time, Bishop Garachana noted that the spiral of violence in Honduras is the responsibility of all. “The deaths of our brothers is also an accusation against all of us in regards to our conformism. We should not only question the government, but also our social responsibility and our commitment of faith,” he warned.
Lastly, the bishop said death and impunity should not be allowed to take over the country, and he called on the faithful to “get to work in building a more just, unified and peaceful society.”
If the complaint before the ICHR is accepted, it will then be heard by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.