Ambassador Laura F. Dogu’s Remarks on Human Rights Initiative Workshop

An Armed Forces mission that does not protect people’s human rights is not a successful mission. The Honduran Armed Forces understand this because between 1995 and 1997, they helped develop the Human Rights Initiative Consensus document.

Mr. Minister of Defense, José Manuel Zelaya Rosales;

Minister of Human Rights, Natalie Roque Sandoval;

Chief of the Hoduran Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Admiral José Jorge Fortín Aguilar, and to the representation of brother countries: Colombia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

Today, Honduras is an active member of this initiative.

This demonstrates Honduras’ commitment to the practice of human rights and the education of its Armed Forces.

That respect shown by the Honduran Armed Forces is consistent with the respect for democracy, sovereignty, and the rule of law.

Respect for human rights is an essential element as it strengthens the alliance between the U.S. and Honduras. And this event is the continuation of the efforts and bonds of friendship established between the Armed Forces of our countries.

It is events like this which lead us to the creation of better ties of cooperation and work. I want to thank the team at the Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, the

U.S. Southern Command, and to the Honduran team. Everyone worked together to bring this event to life.

I want to conclude with a short story. Years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a meeting between U.S. generals and another allied country. The general of the allied country asked the U.S. general about the problems of the population’s accusations regarding the violation of their human rights. And the U.S. general responds with an example of the U.S. military and the problem with prisoner detention in Iraq. He explained that the United States had learned of the importance of a human rights doctrine and the accompaniment of NGOs focused on human rights. And the lesson was: if human rights doctrine is followed, with the accompaniment of external organizations, if there were accusations, they would not be credible because they acted under the law and civil society will be able to demonstrate this.

This impacted me on a personal level and helped me understand the importance of human rights in military missions.

I am very pleased to see so many women military personnel here. We need more of you in militaries worldwide, because there are not enough of you.

Thank you for your time and your attention.