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Gender & Sexual Solidarity: News & Updates

News Article

A recent study by Caribbean Affirmative in Colombia revealed alarming statistics regarding violence against the LGBTQ community. On average, one LGBTQ person is murdered every two days in the country. Despite Colombia's progressive legal framework for LGBTQ rights, only a small percentage of cases progress to trial, and violence against the community persists. Trans individuals face the highest risk, with Colombia among the countries reporting the most hate crimes against them in Latin America. Visibility remains a challenge, particularly outside urban areas, where discrimination and violence are more prevalent. The organization calls attention to the state's indifference to these cases and demands a change in attitude from institutions to effectively address and prevent violence against LGBTQ individuals. They emphasize the need for improved data collection and enforcement of laws to ensure the safety and rights of LGBTQ people in Colombia.

News Article

The article reports coordinated attacks on LGBTI+ communities in El Salvador by President Nayib Bukele and Argentinian President Javier Milei following their speeches at the CPAC conference. Milei focused on banning inclusive gender language in the government, while Bukele's government removed gender and sexual diversity references from schools and healthcare clinics. In response, the "Movimiento Ampliado LGBT+ de El Salvador" released a statement on Zero Hate Day, criticizing the attacks as a smokescreen to divert attention from broader societal issues, such as economic struggles, police abuse, and a democratic crisis. The statement emphasizes that targeting the LGBTI+ community will not address systemic problems and calls for solidarity, denouncing injustice and organizing against discrimination.

News Article

A Salvadoran woman, identified as Lilian, has been released from prison after more than seven years, where she was serving a 30-year sentence for having an abortion. Lilian gave birth to a baby in 2015, who suffered health complications and died three days later. El Salvador has a strict anti-abortion law with a total ban, and Lilian was accused of negligence and aggravated murder for allegedly not taking care of the fetus. Lilian, who maintained her innocence, was released based on her vulnerable situation in the hospital. The country's abortion ban, in place since 1998, does not have exemptions for cases of rape or health risks for the mother. Campaign groups continue to advocate for women's reproductive rights, emphasizing the need for justice. Despite calls for change, President Nayib Bukele has no intention of altering the current abortion law, reflecting the influence of the predominantly Roman Catholic and Evangelical population in the country.

News Article

Beatriz's case, before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, reflects El Salvador's stringent anti-abortion laws. Denied the termination of her pregnancy despite grave health risks, Beatriz's plea was rejected by the Salvadoran Supreme Court, citing the child's rights over the mother's. Eventually, after intervention from the IACHR, a delayed cesarean section led to the baby's death and worsened Beatriz's health. This case symbolizes the repercussions of El Salvador's severe abortion restrictions, especially affecting marginalized women. Despite hope for justice, the country's political landscape remains staunchly against abortion rights. Similar challenges have been seen in Manuela's case, where the IACHR ruled in her favor posthumously. The government's resistance to acknowledging these violations showcases its alignment with conservative factions. This stance, influenced by international right-wing groups, reflects a growing regression on abortion rights in El Salvador.

News Article

In this monthly newsletter, we include the fiscal year-end numbers from Customs and Border Patrol. CBP reports 2,475,669 “encounters” of migrants at the US-Mexico border from OCT 2022-SEP 2023. That’s up about 100,000 from last fiscal year. 

Let’s be clear. There is no “border crisis.” But there is a humanitarian crisis at the border.

The numbers don’t justify any increased funding for CBP. Federal agents are not having to chase down tens of thousands of migrants along the river bank or into the desert along the 2,000 mile border. A large portion of the “encountered” migrants (roughly 30,000 per month) have actually turned themselves in voluntarily at ports-of-entry to request political asylum. Presenting themselves at ports of entry (i.e., the “legal” way to cross) are these nationalities in this order: Haiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru.

But the waiting time to schedule an appointment at the border crossing (via the CBP One app) and then waiting for the actual appointment—this is causing tens of thousands of migrants to seek humanitarian assistance on the Mexico side of the border as they sit it out and wait.

As burdensome as the asylum process is, a group of US senators is trying to make it worse. They are threatening to stall any supplemental budget request that Biden is submitting for the war in Ukraine, Israel/Gaza, and the US-Mexico border. They say that won’t approve any Biden request unless it contains new border restrictions, including: more detention, family and child detention, restrictions on humanitarian parole, and banning the right to asylum for migrants who do not present themselves at ports-of-entry (note: this is clearly an illegal provision that violates both domestic and international asylum law.). 

See the Take Action items listed at the bottom of this newsletter. Our advocacy is needed to maintain some modicum of humanity in the nation’s immigration system and to address root causes of migration. 



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News Article

Jesús Ociel Baena, Mexico's first openly non-binary magistrate and LGBTQ+ activist, was found dead at home in Aguascalientes. Authorities are investigating the cause of death, with preliminary findings suggesting it could be a "personal matter." Baena, known for advocacy and visibility on social media, had received hate messages and death threats related to their gender identity. Activists urge a thorough investigation, expressing concern that the death may lead to further violence against queer communities. Baena's contributions to LGBTQ+ rights were recognized in a certificate from the electoral court just before their death. LGBTQ+ activists plan vigils and demonstrations in honor of Baena. Former chief justice Arturo Zaldívar mourns the loss of a strong advocate for equality and LGBTI+ rights.

News Article

Welcome to the vibrant celebration of human rights at the IRTF's 43rd Annual Commemoration Program, Fiesta De Derechos Humanos! As we gather to honor and reflect on the enduring pursuit of justice, this program book serves as a testament to the diverse voices advocating for human rights around the globe. Join us in commemorating the progress made and acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead in our collective journey towards a more just and equitable world. Through engaging narratives, powerful testimonials, and inspiring perspectives, Fiesta De Derechos Humanos encapsulates the essence of our shared commitment to fostering a world where human rights flourish for all.

To view the entire program book visit:

News Article

On behalf of IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) members, we wrote six letters this month to heads of state and other high-level officials in Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico, urging their swift action in response to human rights abuses occurring in their countries.  We join with civil society groups in Latin America to: (1) protect people living under threat, (2) demand investigations into human rights crimes, (3) bring human rights criminals to justice.


Volunteers with the Rapid Response Network (RRN)—together with IRTF staff—write letters in response to six urgent human rights cases each month. We send copies of these letters to US ambassadors, embassy human rights officers, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, regional representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and desk officers at the US State Department. To read the letters, see , or ask us to mail you hard copies.