Association for a More Just Society
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La Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa (ASJ, Association for a More Just Society in English) is a Honduran nongovernmental organization working on human rights and government transparency in Honduras, where it serves as Transparency International's local chapter. Its sister organization in the United States it known as the Association for a More Just Society (AJS).
The Association for a More Just Society was founded in 1998 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with a focus on land and labor rights. The organization has since grown to work in various sectors including education, health, and security reform. Their work investigating and prosecuting homicides in marginal communities has reduced violence and impunity in several neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa, while advocacy for security reforms has contributed to an overall reduction in homicide rates in Honduras. ASJ has an office in Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. When in December 2006 ASJ lawyer Dionisio Díaz García was murdered. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asked the government to protect workers of ASJ.
Let's Transform Honduras
In 2009, ASJ became a founding member of civil society coalition Transformemos Honduras (Let's Transform Honduras), which provides social oversight to the public education and health systems. Other members include Doctors Without Borders and Christian charity organizations World Vision and Compassion International.
By mobilizing parents of students in Honduras' public schools to collect accurate data, Let's Transform Honduras exposed that between 2002 and 2012, teachers' strikes and other irregularities meant that students were attending class on average 120 days per year, despite Honduran law requiring 200 days per year. When the reports were published, the Minister of Education was fired, and the new Minister instituted reforms that purged 15,000 "ghost teachers" from the government payroll, teachers who were being paid, but not showing up to class. Consequently, students have met 200 days per year for the past three years in a row.
Let's Transform Honduras also exposed corruption in government medicine purchasing and warehousing. A report published in March, 2013 showed that medicines were not only being overvalued, they were being purchased from companies with elite connections—one was owned by the family of the vice-president of the Honduran Congress, a clear conflict of interest. Furthermore, medicine warehousing left sensitive medicines to spoil, threatening the health of thousands of Hondurans. The report led to a raid on the warehouse and an arrest of the Warehouse Manager, as well as a complete overhaul of medicine purchasing for public hospitals in Honduras. Medical purchasing is now done in a trust in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Project Services, with Let's Transform Honduras performing social oversight.
Alliance for Peace and Justice
ASJ helped found La Alianza por la Paz y la Justicia (APJ, the Alliance for Peace and Justice) in 2012, a civil society coalition that advocates for reforms in the judicial and security sectors, particularly in regards to corruption in the national and military police. The Alliance for Peace and Justice includes the Catholic and Evangelical churches in Honduras, the National Autonomous University, the Honduran Association for nongovernmental associations, and various national and international organizations including World Vision.
APJ works in five regional chapters both training individuals to navigate the justice system and advocating for reforms to make the justice system easier to navigate. The Alliance is the strongest coalition of civil society in Honduras, and frequently speaks on issues of corruption and violence.
Transparency International Agreement
In 2014, Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández signed a collaboration agreement with ASJ and Transparency International (TI) allowing them full access to information on government purchasing and contracts, human resources, and data collection so that the organizations could perform social oversight. The first of the reports on six major government sectors were presented in November, 2015, exposing multiple irregularities. In response, the government ministers proposed several reforms, which ASJ and TI will continue to monitor.
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