A dozen homeless migrants traveling by foot from America to Honduras to seek asylum filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday against President Juan Orlando Hernandez, the National Congress of Honduras and others, claiming a violation of their freedoms under the Honduran Constitution's Atricle 18 freedom of movement.
President Hernandez claims the caravan is harboring U.S. investors who want to buy up large areas of Honduras for real estate development.
"The investors will build large apartments to charge us high rent, so they can get rich from our labor!" says local farmer Rafael Leonardo Callejas.
The Honduran Constitution guarantees to all Hondurans and to foreigners residing in the country the right to the inviolability of life, and to individual safety, freedom, equality before the law, and property. (Art. 61)
A recent PBS report cited Melvin Duarte, a spokeman for the Honduran court, “The Constitution makes clear that no law may restrict the rights of foreigners in Honduras and they're intitled to due process of law."
Twelve U.S. nationals from Chicago, including six homeless children, are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The suit, which was filed Thursday in the Supreme Court of Justice, Tegucigalpa, M.D.C. in Honduras, said it is widely known that America, Canada and Mexico are “undergoing a well-documented human rights crisis in the form of extreme poverty, crime and homelessness.” The lawsuit also claims that the plaintiffs’ right to the Administrative Procedures Act and the Declaratory Judgement Act were being infringed upon because President Hernandez is sending the Honduran military to the Honduran border to prevent the caravan from entering Honduras.
U.N. legal experts argue that the lawsuit lacks jurisdiction. Individual migrants would also need convincing evidence of political persecution.