Positive Results from Call to End Murders of LGBT People in Honduras

In an overwhelming show of support, over 1400 people responded to the Action Alert issued by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Honduran organization Red Lesbica Cattrachas on January 10, 2011. The Action Alert, calling for an investigation and response to the more than 31 murders of gay and transgender people that have occurred in Honduras since the coup in June 2009, has, in the two months since its issue, seen positive results.

The Action Alert responses, together with advocacy by individuals and organizations in Honduras and other actions by the international community, contributed significantly to prompting responses from Honduran authorities, and from other countries and international institutions – including calls from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for these crimes and to protect LGBT persons from violence and discrimination. Honduras has publicly committed to investigate these murders and to prevent further attacks.

The Honduran Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Ana Pineda, met with members of LGBT organizations on 21 January 2011. The organizations asked the State to investigate the violent deaths of members of the LGBT community and to join the struggle against the homophobia that prevails in Honduras. Prior to this meeting requests from these activists to obtain information on the progress of investigations from the Attorney General Luis Alberto Rubi and Human Rights Special Prosecutor, Sandra Ponce, had gone unanswered.

On February 22, 201, the Minister of Security of Honduras, Oscar Alvarez announced that he would create a special unit to investigate crimes against journalists, LGTB people and other vulnerable groups. Members of the security forces and judicial bodies will meet with the Minister of Justice and Human Rights to discuss the creation of this unit – which will be made up of approximately 150 security officers and be tasked with investigating the deaths of women, journalists, youth, gay groups, lesbians and travestis, that had previously not been investigated sufficiently.

At the March 2011 session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Council will consider the human rights review of Honduras that was conducted in November 2010 (as part of the regular country reviews by the Council) and will finalize its recommendations. IGLHRC is working to facilitate the participation of Honduran LGBT activists at the Council session to support the recommendations to Honduras that it fulfill its obligations to protect and guarantee the human rights of all people without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.