REPORT No. 64/18 CASE 12.738 REPORT ON THE MERITS OPARIO LEMOTH MORRIS AND OTHERS (MISKITO DIVERS) HONDURAS MAY 8, 2018 I. SUMMARY 1. On November 5, 2004, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the Commission or the IACHR) received a petition filed by Arquímedes García López, Cendela López Milton, and Bans López Solaisa (hereinafter the petitioners). Afterwards, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) was established. The petition alleged that the State of Honduras (hereinafter the State or the Honduran State) was responsible for violating several rights to the detriment of the divers of the Miskito indigenous people who live in the department of Gracias a Dios. 2. According to the petitioners, the State failed to fulfill its obligation to oversee the working conditions of the divers of the Miskito indigenous people who are engaged in underwater fishing. They pointed out that these persons were the victims of labor exploitation, which has led to the deaths of many of them or to physical disabilities, a situation which has not been duly addressed by the State. They added that domestic proceedings have not been effective in securing reparations and justice. They alleged that the case is part of a structural problem of poverty, neglect, and exclusion that the State has not tackled. 3. As for the State, it pointed out that it did not incur any international responsibility because it has a legal system that adequately governs labor ties between employers and workers, including the situation of the Miskito divers. It contended that, at all times, their rights were respected and that, in those cases where abuses were reported, sound and diligent investigations were conducted to determine who was responsible in order to determine compensation for their benefit. 4. After examining available information, the Commission concluded that the State of Honduras is responsible for the violation of the rights to life, personal integrity, prohibition of slavery and servitude, a fair trial, protection of the family, rights of the child, equality and non-discrimination, judicial protection, and the progressive development of the rights to health and work as enshrined in Articles 4.1, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 8.1, 19, 24, 25.1, and 26 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the American Convention or the Convention), in connection with the obligations set forth in Articles 1.1 and 2 of the same instrument, to the detriment of the persons who are specified throughout the present report and its annexes. The Commission made the respective recommendations. II. PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE IACHR 5. On November 5, 2004, the Commission received the initial petition. The proceedings, from the filing of the petition up to the decision on admissibility, are explained in detail in the report on admissibility 121/09 issued on November 12, 2009.1 6. On December 2, 2009, the Commission notified the report to the parties. The petitioners submitted their observations on April 2, 2010. The State submitted its observations on the merits on October 8, 2010. Afterwards, the IACHR received communications from both parties, which were duly forwarded to the respective parties. On October 24, 2011, a hearing was held, attended by both parties, in the framework of the Commission’s 143rd period of sessions. The State of Honduras indicated, in the stage of the merits, on various IACHR, Report No, 121/09, Petition 1186-04, Admissibility, Opario Lemoth Morris and others (Miskito Divers), Honduras, November 12, 2009. Available at: In this report, the IACHR ruled that the petition was admissible in connection with the possible violation of the rights enshrined in Articles 4, 5, 6.2, 8, 17.1, 19, 24, 25, and 26 of the American Convention in connection with the obligations set forth in Articles 1.1 and 2 of the same instrument. 1 1

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