Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his sadness at the deaths that have occurred in Honduras following the ouster of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and called on the Organization of American States (OAS) to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis.
Mr. Zelaya was ousted by the military on 28 June, hours before a referendum was slated to be held on changing the Honduran constitution. He attempted to fly back to Honduras yesterday, accompanied by General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto and several regional leaders, but was prevented from landing at the airport in the capital, Tegucigalpa.
At least two people were reportedly killed when soldiers clashed with supporters of the President over the weekend.
“I am very saddened by the loss of lives in the course of these demonstrations,” Mr. Ban told a news conference in Geneva, where he is currently on an official visit.
He said the Honduran authorities “should refrain from using excessive force,” and added that the country’s citizens “should be allowed to express their free will, without being intimidated, without being threatened by physical force.”
He stressed that any unconstitutional change of power is unacceptable, and welcomed the role and the measures taken by the OAS.
“I sincerely hope that [the] OAS at this time will take the necessary leadership role to find a peaceful solution to this issue, whereby the constitutional order can be restored.”
The coup d’état has received widespread condemnation from both within and outside the UN. Last week the General Assembly adopted a resolution deploring the incident, which it stated has “interrupted the democratic and constitutional order and the legitimate exercise of power in Honduras.”
Also last week, a group of independent UN human rights experts voiced serious concern over the situation in the Central American nation and called for the lifting of curbs on fundamental freedoms.