Information on the treatment of Asians, state protection available to Asians and whether there are any human rights organizations which focus specifically on Asians [HND24191.E]

The following information was provided by the General Coordinator of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH) in a telephone interview on 4 June 1996.

Asian people who have been long established in Honduras do not have any problems due to their ethnicity. Between 1992 and 1995, a number of Asians were smuggled into Honduras through a complex network lead by Asian and Honduran officials from the Public Ministry, the Ministry of External Relations and Honduran consuls and diplomats abroad. This smuggling operation was discovered in mid-1995. The Asians were buying false Honduran passports and documents from the smugglers and their final destination was usually the United States or Canada. If caught by the Honduran authorities the Asians are considered to be illegal aliens and are jailed until they can be deported. No protection is available to these people, and mistreatment can occur during their incarceration, although CODEH has not been able to confirm any specific cases of mistreatment of Asians while they are in custody. There are no human rights organizations in Honduras which focus on Asians. Individual cases pertaining to Asians may be referred to human rights groups, but CODEH is unable to confirm that this has been the case.

A lawyer with CODEH provided the following information in a telephone interview with the DIRB on 4 June 1996. In 1990/91 a law was passed entitled Ley de Naturalización para Ciudadanos Orientales (Law of Naturalization for Asian Citizens) in order to attract Asian investment into Honduras. Since then, smugglers have tried to take advantage of loopholes in this law to smuggle people into Honduras. In 1995, when the smuggling scandal was made public, some 10,000 Asians were reported to have been smuggled into Honduras, where they stayed for six months to one year before leaving for their final destination of the United States or Canada. There is no legal protection for them and there are no human rights organizations which focus on their situation.

For additional information on the above-mentioned topic, please consult the attached articles.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH). 4 June 1996. Telephone interview with General Coordinator.

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH). 4 June 1996. Telephone interview with lawyer.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 16 May 1993. "Some 200 Chinese Illegal Aliens Back in Custody After Escape." (NEXIS)

The Austin American-Statesman. 30 May 1996. Sam Dillon. "Pre-trial Scheduled in Case of Smuggling Asian Aliens." (NEXIS)

The Independent. 26 May 1993. Phil Reeves. "Rising Tide of 'Human Smuggling'." (NEXIS)

La Nación [San Jose, in Spanish]. 18 January 1996. "Honduras: ID Papers Reportedly Sold to Chinese." (FBIS-LAT-96-022 1 Feb. 1996, pp. 11-12)

The Orlando Sentinel. 2 June 1993. "Honduras Deports 235 Illegal Chinese Immigrants." (NEXIS)

The San Diego Union-Tribune. 17 May 1993. Arthur Golden. "5 Ship Seizures Leave Honduras Red-faced." (NEXIS)