Three Murders in Two Weeks: Protest the Killings of LGBTI People in Honduras

** THIS CALL TO ACTION HAS ENDED **

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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. Read more »

Update: Three More Murders in Honduras, Including Yet Another Travesti Woman »
Civil Society Protest Planned At Public Ministry January 12

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Over the past two weeks, three travestis have been murdered in separate incidents in Honduras. In two of the incidents, the victims were set on fire either before or after their deaths. This means that in the past year and a half, there has been a total of now 31 the murders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Honduras. Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Honduran LGBTI organization Red Cattrachas in calling for immediate investigations and demanding state action to prevent future killings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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On December 22, 2010 in Comayagüela, a 23-year-old travesti named Lorenza (legal name: Luis) Alexis Alvarado Hernández was found dead, her body visibly beaten and burned. Bloody stones near her corpse indicate that the bruises covering her body were caused by stoning. Her body was set on fire. Used condoms found nearby have led to the suspicion that she may also have been raped. After her death, the assailants threw her body into a ditch. News reports indicate that severe injuries to her face rendered her corpse virtually unrecognizable.

The same day, another travesti, Lady Oscar (legal name: Oscar) Martinez Salgado, age 45, was found burned to death in her home in Barrio El Rincón of Tegucigalpa. Her body showed multiple stab wounds. Neighbors report witnessing two suspicious individuals running from her house as the fire ignited.

Less than two weeks later, on January 2, 2011, a young travesti known only as Cheo was found murdered on the main street of Colonia Alameda in Tegucigalpa. Her body was left without legal documentation. She appears to have died from a severe stab wound to her chest.

These killings are not isolated incidents. Since the 2009 coup d'état in Honduras, there have been 31 murders of LGBTI people documented by Red Cattrachas. More deaths of LGBT people have likely gone unreported. At least one of those killed, Walter Trochez, was a prominent human rights defender. In the majority of the cases, there have been no investigation or prosecution of the crimes. Since the coup, all Hondurans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have been subjected to increased violence and have received little protection from authorities; however, LGBT people been particularly vulnerable to attack. Impunity nationwide has created this deadly spike in violence.

In response to pressure from local human rights activists, the Honduran Minister of Human Rights and the Tegucigalpa Chief of Homicide have assigned two investigators to these murders. However, no one has yet been charged in the recent deaths, and there is little evidence that the investigations are underway.

Urge the Honduran authorities to conduct immediate investigations into each of the recent murders of travestis, to hold perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and to prevent similar attacks in the future. Let officials know that the world mourns these tragic deaths and demands that LGBTI killings stop.

Sample Letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my deep concern at the systematic and violent murders perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Honduras. Over the past two weeks, three travestis in Honduras have been murdered in separate incidents. Two of the victims were set on fire either before or after their deaths. This means that over the past 18 months, there have been more than 31 murders of LGBTI people in Honduras. I urge you to immediately investigate these recent murders and take action to prevent future killings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

On December 22, 2010 in Comayagüela, a 23-year-old travesti named Lorenza (legal name: Luis) Alexis Alvarado Hernández was found dead, her body visibly beaten and burned. Bloody stones near her corpse indicate that the bruises covering her body were caused by stoning. Her body was set on fire. Used condoms found nearby have led to the suspicion that she may also have been raped. After her death, the assailants threw her body into a ditch. News reports indicate that severe injuries to her face made her corpse virtually unrecognizable.

The same day, another travesti, Lady Oscar (legal name: Oscar) Martinez Salgado, age 45, was found burned to death in her home in Barrio El Rincón of Tegucigalpa. Her body showed multiple stab wounds. Neighbors report witnessing two suspicious individuals running from her house as the fire ignited.

Less than two weeks later, on January 2, 2011, a young travesti known only as Cheo was found murdered on the main street of Colonia Alameda in Tegucigalpa. Her body was left without legal documentation. She appears to have died from a severe stab wound to her chest.

These killings are not isolated incidents. Since 2009, thirty-one murders of LGBTI people have been documented by the organization Red Cattrachas. More deaths of LGBT people have likely gone unreported. In the majority of the cases, there has been no investigation or prosecution of the crimes.

To recognize the constitutional and human rights of all people, including LGBTI people, to life, physical integrity, equality, non-discrimination, and freedom from torture (Articles 60, 65, and 68 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras; Articles 6, 7, 9, 16, 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights):

  • The police, the Public Ministry and the National Directorate for Criminal Investigations should carry out prompt, full and fair investigations into the most recent murders of travestis -- and also any other unsolved LGBTI murders of the past 18 months -- and prosecute any perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law;
  • The Attorney General for Human Rights, together with other relevant Honduran authorities, should publicly condemn all hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression and launch public campaigns for tolerance;
  • The State should collect, analyze, and report on data related to hate crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; and
  • Police should undergo sensitivity training to strengthen the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and documentation of crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

As a symbol of the commitment of the government of Honduras to justice and equality for all, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, I respectfully request that you give these tragic murders the urgent attention they deserve.

Sincerely,

Name:
Organization (if applicable):
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