Open letter to Foreign Minister Stephen Smith on Honduras — please add your name

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An open letter to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

To: Stephen Smith
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600
Tel: 02-6277 7500 Fax: 02-6273 4112 Email: Stephen.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au
Cc: Electorate office
953A Beaufort St, Inglewood WA 6932
Tel: 08-9272 3411 Fax: 08-9272 3477
October 2009

Dear Minister Smith,

The people and nation of Honduras urgently need the support of governments around the world.

A dictatorship has been in power since June 28, when the elected government of President Manuel Zelaya Rosales was overthrown in a military coup. The illegal regime is not officially recognised by any government or international institution. The Organisation of American States, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have all taken action to isolate the regime. The United Nations has refused assistance to elections scheduled for November 29 on the grounds that a poll organised by the dictatorship has no legitimacy.

The Honduran people have rejected the coup regime. Polling company COIMER & OP, legally authorised by the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal to survey the population in the lead up to the November 29 poll, found in August that only 17% of Hondurans support the coup. A majority support Zelaya's reinstatement.

Three months after the coup, the people continue their peaceful protests demanding Zelaya's reinstatement and the convening of a constituent assembly. The coup regime has responded with terror and repression. Reliable sources estimate that at least 4000 people have been detained and 17 killed during the three months of protests. Media outlets and journalists critical of the coup regime have been harassed or silenced, including an occupation by the military of a radio and TV station. A number of political prisoners have started an indefinite hunger strike against their illegal detention.

The demand of the Honduran people is simple: the legitimate government elected by the people should be restored. It is a fundamental human right of all peoples to determine their own government and political future, and we call on the Australian government to urgently:

• Join governments across the world by clearly denouncing the coup and demanding Zelaya be immediately restored as President;
• Cut all diplomatic, political, cultural or economic ties that the Australian government may have with Honduras until Zelaya is reinstated;
• Join the Organisation of American States in refusing to recognise the outcome of any elections organised by the illegal coup regime;
• Demand the immediate release of all political prisoners;
• Pressure the United States administration to act on its verbal criticisms of the coup and cut all ties with the coup regime, and end its ongoing training of the Honduran military.

Signatories:
(Positions for identification purposes only):
*Stuart Munckton, Emma Murphy, co-editors, Green Left Weekly;
* Latin American Social Forum (Sydney);
* Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network;
* Bea Bleile, Margarita Windisch, Dick Nichols, national conveners, Socialist Alliance; * Peace and Justice for Colombia – Australia;
* Tim Gooden, secretary, Geelong Trades & Labour Council;
* Dr Meredith Burgmann, former president of NSW Legislative Assembly;
* Sam Wainwright, Fremantle City councillor;
* Bernardo Zamora, Austalian National Coordinator, FMLN (El Salvador);
* Ovidio Orellana, URNG-MAIZ (Guatemala), Australia;
* Dr Tom Griffiths, School of Education, University of Newcastle;
* Patrick Harrison, Social Justice officer, Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association;
* Warwick Fry, radio broadcaster;
* Marlene Obeid, community worker and anti-war campaigner, Sydney;
* Dr Tim Anderson, Political Economy, Sydney University;
* Zane Alcorn, Environment Collective convener-elect, Newcastle University;
* Susan Price, NTEU branch president, University of NSW;
* Jess Moore, national coordinator, Resistance youth organisation;
* Tim Niven, Cammeray NSW; Ash Pemberton, Wollongong, NSW;
* Anthony & Linda McKenzie;
* Dr John Minns, Director, Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies, Australian National University;
* John Gauci, Secretary Inner City Teachers Association, State Councillor NSW Teachers Federation;
* Phil Bradley, NSW Teachers Federation;
* Peter Ross, convenor, Americas Studies Program, University of NSW;
* Miiko Kumar, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney;
* Centre for Latin American Solidarity and Studies;
* Juan Campas, FMLN Sydney
* Victor-Hugo Munoz, Committee for Human Rights in Guatemala (Sydney)
* Dr Margaret Perrott;Wollongong;
* Linda Seaborn, Tasmania;
* Reina and Louis De Graaf;
* Garry Hill;
* Pamela Sidney, poet and social justice blogger;
* Andy Parnell, Maylands, WA;
* Viviana Ramírez;
* Robert Austin;
* Graciela Nogues;
* Marien Morales;
* Arthur Mckerron;
* Rosie Scott;
* Simon Wood; Emerald Beach, NSW;
* Adam Webb

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