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Honduras Programs

For the last ten years, the American Bar Association (ABA) has supported justice sector reform efforts in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. With the support of the U.S. Department of State, it conducted a Prosecutorial Reform Index to assess the capability of the Public Ministry and Office of the Prosecutor General in Guatemala; supported at-risk lawyers, prosecutors, and judges adjudicating human rights and organized crime cases; monitored anti-corruption cases; and reviewed proceedings to select high court judges; among other programs.

Through the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative and the ABA’s Center for Human Rights, the ABA offered technical assistance for the 2022-2023 Supreme Court selection process and will offer technical assistance for the 2023 Attorney General selection process. The ABA has extensive experience conducting assessments of high court selection processes and the selection of Attorneys General in the region. We observed the 2015-2016 selection process in Honduras for the current slate of Supreme Court magistrates and proposed recommendations to strengthen the transparency and independence of the selection process.

Additionally, ABA ROLI supports the environmental law sector in Honduras through the creation of a resource tool, in the form of a manual, for Honduran law enforcement and prosecutors. This manual will help to combat environmental crimes in the country by serving as a resource reference for criminal investigators and prosecutors of environmental crimes, as well as by providing an overview of the laws and resources available to investigate and prosecute natural resource crimes in Honduras.

Providing Technical Assistance in Support of the Selection Process for the Honduran Supreme Court and Attorney General

The Supreme Court and Attorney General Selection in Honduras Rapid Response Program plans to build further its prior experience observing Attorney General selection processes and high court selection processes, as well as the ABA’s experience with selection processes for justices in the United States. This will allow the ABA to offer the Proposing Board technical assistance based on international procedures and best practices. Based on these prior experiences and the recommendations from the ABA’s monitoring of the 2015-2016 selection process in Honduras, the ABA has some tools and guidelines it hopes to offer the Proposing Board during the Attorney General selection process, as it did to the Nominating Board during the Supreme Court selection process. The ABA is also open to considering any requests for specific technical support from the Board and hopes to support the Proposing Board’s work in ensuring a fair, transparent, and equitable selection process for the new Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General.

Our goal is to provide vetting procedures and proper background investigations for Supreme Court nominees and Attorney General candidates, provide technical assistance in the form of selection guidelines based on international standards and best practices, and provide a profile for Supreme Court nominees based on such standards.

Strengthening Prosecution of Environmental Crimes in Honduras

ABA ROLI additionally provides support to the prosecution of environmental crimes in Honduras. The legal system of Honduras currently experiences gaps in the laws and regulations that apply to the protection of natural resources in the country, as well as an insufficient capacity to implement and enforce the existing laws. Due to this, and in collaboration with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), ABA ROLI works to create a resource tool, in the form of a manual, for law enforcement and prosecutors in Honduras. This manual will serve as a resource reference for criminal investigators and prosecutors of environmental crimes specifically and will provide an overview of the laws and resources available to investigate and prosecute natural resource crimes in Honduras. Together with ELI, our two organizations will create a combined manual that will cover the laws of both Guatemala and Honduras relevant to conducting investigations and prosecutions involving natural resources (e.g., fish, forest products, minerals, and wildlife).  

Our Past Work in Honduras

Program to Strengthen Forensic Capacity in Central America
2011 – 2018 | The U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

ABA ROLI provided technical assistance in El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Panama, and Guatemala to strengthen the use of forensic evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions to combat impunity—such as discomfort w/ in-court testimony, the accumulation of written records, and the very narrow use of scientific evidence in criminal cases. Through training and the creation of working groups in all these countries, inter-institutional coordination plans were created to increase collaborative work and communication between forensic, justice, and law enforcement institutions. In Honduras, our work led to the creation of a joint Working Group that subsequently developed a national coordination plan and a Crime Scene Protection Manual.

Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in Central America Initiative (WAGE)
2018 – 2020 | U.S. Department of State, Office of Global Women´s Issues

The Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) is a global consortium led by the ABA ROLI in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise, Grameen Foundation, Search for Common Ground, and 43 resource partners. WAGE advances the status of women and girls by strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations, private sector and semi-private sector organizations in target countries to improve the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV); advance the women, peace, and security agenda; and support women’s economic empowerment. ABA ROLI worked with a variety of partners to strengthen women’s financial inclusion, reduce gender-based violence and promote the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. To achieve these goals, we worked with partners to assess the legal and policy challenges that exist in Honduras and El Salvador, develop gender-based violence participatory risk assessment and mitigation plans, and provide technical assistance through legal awareness training, holistic legal aid services, and workshops. The consortium developed several online resources through the program in order to examine compliance with international treaties that respect, protect, and promote women’s rights, ensure gender equality, and prohibit gender-based discrimination.

Strengthening Capacity and Commitment to Combat Wildlife Trafficking in Latin America
2019-2020 | U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

After conducting a legal assessment of the region, ABA ROLI produced a wildlife trafficking roadmap report for governments, and local and international organizations to support efforts to combat wildlife trafficking in the region. ABA ROLI hosted and conducted bi-national training sessions for Honduran and Nicaraguan prosecutors, law enforcement officials and key government actors with the knowledge, skills, and tools to help them better respond to wildlife trafficking crimes and its relationship with other types of transnational organized crimes.

SAICM Global Environment Facility (GEF) Project – Lead in Paint Component
2019 – 2021 | United Nations Environment Programme and World Health Organization

Under this program, ABA ROLI worked to promote the adoption of legislation to restrict the use of lead paint and phase out the use of lead additives in Honduras, among other countries. With our significant legal expertise and global network of legal experts, we provided technical support to increase awareness of the risks of lead paint and the need to adopt legislation, regulatory frameworks, and standards to prevent children’s exposure to paints containing lead. Our work resulted in the presentation of a model law that addressed the need for legal controls for lead in paint and promoted a more effective application of standards. Additionally, our work helped the Honduran public better understand the safety limits of lead traces in paints and the mechanisms to ensure compliance with these standards.

Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in El Salvador and Honduras (WAGE)
2019-2020 | U.S. Department of State

The primary objective of the WAGE Honduras initiative was to improve the financial inclusion of women, based on a barrier and opportunities country assessment that the program conducted. The program provided financial support to women entrepreneurs through a loan-matching fund implemented in partnership with Kiva, and it collaborated with microfinance institutions (MFIs) to reduce the barriers that women face in starting and scaling businesses. WAGE also linked MFIs to GBV and legal aid service providers to provide holistic financial services to women micro-entrepreneurs. WAGE’s initiative in El Salvador and Honduras supported over 8,858 female entrepreneurs and deployed over $2,237,375 USD in loan-matching funds.