December 31, 2013
In reflecting on 2013, the Association for a More Just Society has so much to be thankful for. Take a look at some of our important milestones in seeking justice for the most vulnerable in 2013!
In 2013, two of AJS’s projects began steps to expand to the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, offering groundbreaking psychological and legal services to victims of crime and corruption.
In December, AJS’ Land Rights project signed an agreement with the government Property Institute which should grant “land titles”, the document that assures someone cannot be evicted from their land. The agreement gives AJS exclusive access to investigate cases of corruption in the Institute.
In November, AJS lawyers who work with survivors of sexual abuse attended the first trial in the case of a serial rapist arrested in 2012. The team is working with a total of 26 survivors in the case, and all were excited to see justice being done!
In November, AJS-Honduras became an international anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International’s chapter in Honduras. It’s a huge honor to join TI’s worldwide network!
In April, AJS lawyers who work with victims of violent crime achieved justice in the case of Sindy Marbella, a young girl who was murdered. Her family told AJS lawyers, “Thank you so much for your work in this case. Achieving justice is like a balm for our deep wound.” In 2013, the team achieved justice in 10 cases.
In September more than 200 young people graduated from at-risk youth clubs, where they had spent three years learning about values, receiving vocational training, and doing service projects. In November, some club graduates and other mentors started new groups!
In April, thanks to pressure from AJS and its partners, the Honduran Congress held public hearings calling police and the Attorney General’s office authorities to account for their lack of action in purging a corrupt police and justice system. Thanks to these hearings, the Attorney General and Minister of Security resigned, and a more qualified people replaced them. AJS continues to advocate for justice and security reform, and although progress is slow, there are signs of hope.
In March an AJS investigation helped lead to the arrest of the head of the warehouse that stores all of the medication for Honduras’ public hospitals. She is charged with stealing at least $65,000 of medication meant for Honduras’ poorest people. Her arrest showed that corruption has consequences!
Hondurans went to the polls to elect a new president in November. Although there were serious concerns about violence on Election Day, most of them did not materialize. AJS worked closely with the candidates to help develop a security reform policy and was sought after during elections to talk about the Honduran context.
1. A Bright Future
In October, for the first time in a decade, Honduran children reached 200 days of school, thanks in part to AJS advocacy. This is a huge achievement for Honduran education!