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Nery Suyapa Osorio, LLM, LLL

Position: Forensic Legal Expert and PHR Consultant
Affiliation: Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus
Nery Suyapa Osorio, JD

Nery Suyapa Osorio received her law degree from the Law School at the Autonomous National University of Honduras in 2001 and her Master's Degree in International Criminal Law at the University of Granada Spain. She also has received extensive training in criminal investigations. She began her professional career in 1994 as a criminal investigator at the Honduran General Attorney’s Office.

"At 14 years old I felt within me the desire to fight for the rights of all Hondurans, the rights established in the Honduran constitution, such as the right to life, the right to dignity, right to free-expression, the right to education, the right to work and just wages, and to have decent housing, among others. Rights that were and are constantly violated by the Honduran authorities.
The majority of Hondurans were living under oppression and misery; for that reason a group of people decided to fight for better living conditions for Hondurans. Most of these fighters were disappeared and murdered by the national security policy during the 1980s. But in those years I was just a girl and could do nothing.
Ten years later, I took the opportunity to work for the Public Prosecutor in the office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights. This job absorbed all my time as I was the only criminal investigator for the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights in the country during 1994-1996. This work delayed my law studies, but I was happy because one of the most important tasks at that time was the investigation of forced disappearances and summary executions that had happened in the 80s. I worked for the victims; men and women who survived and bear the pain of knowing their loved ones have disappeared – mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of those who were executed – those who want to know what happened. (At that time I thought I could have been one of them, then I realized my purpose in life).

While I was working these cases, in 1994 I met Dr. Bill Haglund and Stefan Schmitt (of PHR’s IFP). They came to Honduras to conduct exhumations and analysis of skeletal remains for identification in several cases of disappearances from the 80s. They decided to give me training in forensic anthropology to continue this work, and we continued these cases until 2000. Then I had the opportunity to work in the field of forensic anthropology in Cyprus (1999-2000) with Dr. Haglund. I have participated in several investigations of murder, summary executions, and torture with the International Forensic Program so far.

When I was 16 years old I organized a youth group to help the street children. Our first objective was that the children could see another side of life, receiving some attention and affection, and with a little money that our parents gave us during the week, we bought books and pencils to teach them to read and write. We worked on the street on Sundays.

By 2003, because of various acts of discrimination against the LGBT community, and knowing that no human rights organizations were paying attention to this problem in Honduras, my friend and I decided to create Catrachas, a group whose purpose is to make visible acts of discrimination against this community through the media. Today this group continues to work; Honduran women continue to denounce and document cases of discrimination and hate crimes against the LGBT Community."

Ms. Osorio’s work as an investigator includes working for the Ministry of National Security Internal Investigations Department, as well as the Honduran Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office. She has provided her expertise in human rights and criminal investigations as a consultant to PHR's International Forensic Program since 1996. Ms. Osorio currently has a teaching position at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus, teaching at the Criminal Justice Program (criminal investigation, Forensic investigation, Forensic Science, and law).

PHR Reports by Nery Suyapa Osorio, LLM, LLL

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