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Honduras' Zelaya calls for int'l law targeting coups
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Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on Wednesday called on the international community to pass laws specifically applying to coups, which he said violate human rights.

"There is no specific measure in international law that recognizes a coup as a crime nor that designates the punishment that follows from a coup," Zelaya said during a speech to Mexico's upper legislative house, the Senate. "The coup in Honduras has exposed all of this."

He said that coups should be treated as a crime against humanity because they violate citizens' right to vote.

Zelaya also restated that the planned non-binding referendum, set to go ahead just hours before he was seized and flown overseas, was legal and not designed to secure his unconstitutional reelection.

"The question that was being asked was like that survey forms and was based on a law that was passed in my first days in office," Zelaya told legislators. "A second circuit judge ruled it illegal. The question was: 'do you want to be consulted?' That offended Honduras' ruling classes."

Roberto Micheletti, the former legislature leader who took over from Zelaya after the coup, repeatedly said that the referendum was Zelaya's backdoor route to reelection, something that is barred by Honduras' constitution, and that the seizure was the only way to prevent it.

The regime has also said that Zelaya cannot return to the nation as president, but only to stand trial for treason.

Zelaya also told Mexico's Senate that the United States has not done enough to bring down the post-coup regime.

"The U.S. has been lukewarm in acting and that has to be recognized," he said, urging Mexico's President Felipe Calderon to raise the topic this weekend with U.S. President Barack Obama, when Obama visits northern Mexico city Guadalajara as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit due there.

"The U.S. is also at risk if violence increases in the region," he added. Some 70 percent of Honduras' international trade is with the United States and the nation is also the largest single aid donor. The United States has suspended military aid to Honduras but has not yet suspended direct budget aid.

Zelaya said he will return to Nicaragua Wednesday evening, adding that Honduran business people have visited him in Honduras' southern neighbor to offer him support. From there he will travel on to Brazil at the invitation of President Luis Inacio da Silva.

Zelaya arrived in Mexico on Monday night and met with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon on Tuesday morning. Calderon repeated his support of Zelaya and for a proposal made by Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias, who has mediated between Zelaya and Micheletti for Zelaya to return to office as part of a seven-point plan that would also create an amnesty for the coup plotters.

(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2009)

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