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FORT BENNING, GA - Members of the Institute's Center for Human Rights and Democracy converged with 11 high-ranking legal advisors from the Honduran Armed Forces at WHINSEC for a two-week Subject Matter Expert Exchange, that concluded today.

During the SMEE, participants exchanged experiences in the areas of International Human Rights Law(IHRL) and Law of Armed Conflict(LOAC).

"There has been a great exchange of experiences amongst the participants, and with the assistance of Dr. Raimondo, CHRD director, we have taken great strides forward on the formation of Operational Legal Advisors," said Heidi Portillo, Director of the Directorate of Human Rights of the Honduran Armed Forces.

"This has been a project we have been working for about two years, with the assistance of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Human Rights Office, Mrs. Bresnahan. We believe that operational commanders need an advisor who has human rights experience and training," added Portillo.

Once finalized, the goal is to have a four-week basic course and a legal guide for the advisors.

Also in attendance at the SMEE was COL Benedicto A. Chicas, Director of the Office of Human Rights for the Honduran Forces Joint Staff, talked about the importance of the dialog that had occurred during the course of the exchange and how it will be a crucial part on the creation of formation and training of the Operational Legal advisor for the operational commanders.

Interviews with Mrs. Portillo and COL Chicas can be seen on our YouTube channel.

Mrs Heidi Portillo's interview:

COL Benedicto A Chicas' interview: