Soldiers stand guard on a street near the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa on July 2, 2009.

The Organization of American States (OAS) should press Honduras' de facto government to ensure full respect for human rights guarantees, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released today to OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza.

The letter expresses concern over reports of serious abuses against demonstrators, and the Honduran Congress's approval of an emergency decree suspending fundamental rights in the aftermath of a military coup that deposed President Manuel Zelaya early on June 28, 2009.

"[A]ny attempt to suspend non-derogable rights should be categorically condemned," José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said in the letter. "The authorities should be clearly reminded that acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and enforced disappearances are absolutely prohibited and subject to prosecution as international crimes."

The letter cites credible reports of serious abuses committed in recent days, including arbitrary detentions of close to 100 demonstrators and censorship of news outlets. Human Rights Watch expressed concern that the new decree could give rise to further abuse.

"In the absence of some clear threat to public order and security in Honduras, the existence of peaceful, political demonstrations could not reasonably be construed as ground for widespread suspension of fundamental rights guarantees," Vivanco said in the letter.