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Gender & Sexual Solidarity: News & Updates
November 17, 2021
Thank you to the more than 120 people who attended the IRTF annual Commemoration of the Martyrs online on Sunday, November 7. You helped to create a beautiful and moving tribute to human rights defenders throughout southern Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. Here you will find links to (1) Commemoration program book 2021, (2) Zoom recording of the event, (3) Facebook livestream recording, (4) playlist from the social hour, (5) an additional play list, (6) how you can add your name to urgent human rights letters, (7) donations for the Honduras support fund, (8) IRTF Legacy Circle planned giving fund, and (9) highlights from the speakers' presentations. Thank you!
January 10, 2022
Women have been at the forefront of struggle in Honduras throughout its history, from fighting dictatorships to challenging political corruption to seeking civil improvements such as gender parity in politics and education. There is an agenda for Pro-LGBTI and Pro-Women.
December 13, 2021
We wrote to officials in Honduras with our concerns about acts of intimidation against Nidia Castillo, staff attorney with the National Network of Women Human Rights Lawyers in Choluteca. Unknown actors damaged her car, and a man on a motorcycle followed her when she left home to run errands on December 2. This was the same day she had attended a press conference to oppose the ZEDE Orquídea (Employment and Economic Development Zone); construction commenced in the village of Las Tapias in January. Due to the vast biological diversity of flora and fauna of this area situated near the border of Nicaragua, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared it a biosphere reserve in 2017. Opponents have concerns that the ZEDE’s industrial agriculture projects, designed to produce exports to the U.S., will create severe negative environmental destruction, disrupting communities and threatening the biosphere of the region.
LGBTQ+: En Honduras, discriminación, prejuicios y exclusión: los obstáculos para el acceso al trabajo de las mujeres trans en Honduras
December 4, 2021
Thalía, Amelian y Lucía son mujeres de distintas realidades, pero se enfrentan a la discriminación y falta de oportunidades tanto laborales como integrales. Ellas luchan día a día por la subsistencia. Mientras tanto, el Estado de Honduras ignora las sentencias de la Corte Interamericana de los Derechos Humanos que mandan el reconocimiento de la ley de identidad de género para permitir a las personas trans adecuar sus datos de identidad, algo determinante para mejorar su calidad de vida. “¿Realmente quién es el protagonista de todos los daños que nos hacen a la comunidad de mujeres trans?”, pregunta Thalía. “Es el mismo Estado”, se contesta. “Quien dice que vela y protege es el que nos mata, el que nos lastima”....Las mujeres trans sufren violencia en muchos de los ámbitos donde se desempeñan. Según el estudio del Centro de Documentación y Situación Trans de América Latina y El Caribe (CeDosTALC), las víctimas trans de vulneraciones de derechos humanos en Honduras son en su mayoría trabajadoras sexuales, el 42% del total. El 34% son trabajadoras formales, el 5% son activistas y el 7% trabajadoras informales.
November 30, 2021
It seems there was only one topic this month, the general elections. In the weeks running up to November 28, fear grew ever stronger of a repeat of 2017. A record number of candidates and their family members had been murdered. The JOH regime started an unprecedented vote-buying campaign handing out 7000 Lempiras to over 100’000 families. Days before the election, the new ID needed to vote had still not been distributed to everyone. And it was unclear if the new electoral bodies were up to the task as the National Party tried to undermine them all along the way. On election day, reports of voting centers opening late, long lines, more vote-buying and intimidation of voters further compounded the fear of another electoral fraud. The National Party also seemed to believe in its own capacity to steal elections and announced their victory already by mid-day. But then everything changed as the first results were published. Hondurans went to the polls in higher numbers than feared (participation is estimated at around 69%) and the opposition candidate Xiomara Castro led with 53.55% over Nasry Asfura's 33.87% with 46.5% of votes counted. In the remaining days of November, her victory was recognized by all other parties and even JOH himself. While the fight about the new configuration of Congress will be fought in December, it seems not too optimistic to say: Welcome to a new month in Honduras. In solidarity, Daniel Langmeier Honduras Forum Switzerland.
October 24, 2021
We wrote to officials in Honduras expressing our outrage about violence waged against three LGBTI leaders in three areas of the country: Erika Tatiana Martínez García, who was murdered in her home on September 26 (Copán Department), Fausto Vásquez, whose bed was set on fire on September 30 (La Paz Department), and Victoria Rodríguez, who was beaten in her home on October 7 (Comayagua Department). LGBTI rights groups report that 390 LGBTI people have been murdered in Honduras in the past 12 years, including 17 this year. In only nine percent of the cases has there been a murder conviction; more than 90 percent of the cases remain in impunity. Tatiana's murder, Fausto’s harassment, and Vicky’s attack must all be seen as transgressions against protections that human rights defenders should receive. The government of Honduras should adhere to the ruling handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (June 28, 2021) when it found the State responsible for the murder of transwoman Vicky Hernández on June 28, 2009. There must be accountability and an end to the impunity provided to the perpetrators of these crimes.
RRN Case Update
September 30, 2021
SEP 2021: RRN letters summaries
SEP 11 2021. COLOMBIA. assassinated: student leader Esteban Mosquera . SEP 12 2021. HONDURAS. forced eviction: campesino families in Guaimaca . SEP 23 2021. HONDURAS. intimidation and assault: Donny Reyes, defender of LGBT rights. SEP 24 2021. GUATEMALA. assassinated: campesino and land rights leader Ramón López Jiménez. SEP 25 2021. COLOMBIA. death threats: journalist José Alberto Tejada. SEP 26 2021. HONDURAS. threatened: journalists Deyni Menjivay and Héctor Madrid
September 23, 2021
Donny Reyes, an active member of the Arcoiris (Rainbow) Association—as well as the director of CIPRODEH (Center for Investigation and Promotion of Human Rights)—has been the victim of intimidation, including assault. Two days after a private security guard was seen recording Donny Reyes exiting the office of SOMOS-CDC (Center for Development and Cooperation of the LGTBI Community), unknown persons assaulted him on the street. They stole his personal documents, those of his partner, and also other work belongings. This attack occurred just one day after he filed an appeal against the Honduran government for denying him the right to marriage. We believe that these acts of intimidation against Donny Reyes are occurring because of his work in promoting equal rights—specifically, marriage equality—for the LGTBI community in Honduras. We urge that officials in Honduras expedite to the National Protection Mechanism any requests for protection measures being solicited by Donny Reyes. The government must ensure the right of all LGTBI defenders to carry out their work for justice in safety, under protection of the law, and without the threat of reprisal.
August 9, 2021
Trade unionist Ruby Castaño is a leader in the FENSUAGRO agricultural trade union and a human rights defender. Colombia remains the world’s deadliest country for trade unionists, with at least 20 killed between March 2020 and April 2021, according to the International Trade Union Confederation. No trade union has been more violently targeted than FENSUAGRO, which has seen around 35 members killed since Colombia’s peace agreement was signed in late 2016. However, its members continue to campaign tirelessly around the labour, human and social rights of rural communities. In our interview with Ruby, she discusses her life as a trade unionist and human rights defender, and why Colombia is so dangerous for those who fight for a fairer society. (source: Justice for Colombia’s ongoing series that focuses on the important work of women activists in Colombia and the challenges they face.)
July 19, 2021
The case of the 17 year old student Riccy Mabel Martínez puts in the public eye the most extreme violence that women in Honduras suffer: femicide. July 13, 2021 marked 30 years since the violent murder of the student, violated and assassinated with rage by military personnel in a case in which impunity took precedence. "It was the femicide that marked a precedent, above all for the fight against the violent deaths of women," said the coordinator for el Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de Mujeres (CDM), Helen Ocampo, to Criterio.hn. However, these crimes "with the years have been normalized more," she added. Between 2011 and 2020, 4,707 violent deaths of women were registered, according to CDM.