Creation of Militarized Police Passes First Legislative Debate in Honduras

By Dialogo
August 20, 2013

The creation of a militarized police with 5,000 members aimed at confronting the “insecurity crisis” in Honduras passed the first of three mandatory legislative debates on August 15 in Congress.

This initiative, to be analyzed further in two debates next week, determines “to create the Armed Forces’ Law Enforcement Military Police (PMOP) (…), considering the need to create a specialized military unit to combat crime due to the current crisis in the country.”

In addition, “the Armed Forces are authorized (…) to increase their military personnel up to 5,000 members, in order to strengthen protection of citizens, the environment, territorial waters, as well as national sovereignty.”

Honduras, hit by drug trafficking and gangs that operate as collision forces for organized crime, has the highest murder rate in the world, with 85.5 murders per every 100,000 inhabitants every year.

Due to insecurity, the 12,500-member Armed Forces gave support to the Police, which has 9,300 members, despite criticism voiced by human rights organizations, arguing that the military are not prepared to protect citizens.

On December 11, 2011, Porfirio Lobo’s government ordered “a public security state of emergency” for 90 days, which has been extended ever since in order to legalize the military support to the police.

The decision was made after it was evident that the entire police headquarters was swamped by organized crime, drug trafficking, murder, vehicle theft, extortion, among other crimes.

The president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and first-in-command at the Armed Forces, General René Osorio, announced that military police units “will be ready to operate in October,” when he showed up at the Congressional session on August 14.

In June, Congress also approved the creation of a specialized police force, the Intelligence Troop and Special Response Group (TIGRE), which is not yet operational.