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Gender & Sexual Solidarity: News & Updates

News Article

Hailing from all corners of the United States and Canada, 22 delegates ranging from the ages of 10 to 80 traveled to Nicaragua from January 7-16, 2023 to investigate the conditions and the lives of Nicaraguan women on a delegation organized by the Jubilee House Community–Casa Benjamin Linder and Alliance for Global Justice. We had the opportunity to meet with a plethora of community organizers, workers, and public officials: from peasant feminist farmers to self-employed unionists; from urban community health workers to nurses and doctors; from battered women’s program directors to women leaders in the police, National Assembly, and Ministry of Women. We met with Nicaraguans from all walks of life and heard their stories of resilience and empowerment despite two hundred years of imperialist aggression and efforts to undermine their sovereignty. We were inspired by the power and protagonism of Nicaraguans and particularly Nicaraguan women and their participation in their communities and governments.

News Article

Donny Reyes, co-founder of the LGBTI Rainbow Association in Tegucigalpa, joined with other activists who are calling on the state to protect the rights and very lives of LGBTI people in Honduras, where at least 46 members of the community were killed in 2022. They also named the state as the main aggressor. “We are concerned about the increase in violence; we are in a state of great vulnerability and lack of protection,” said Reyes. The levels of impunity and defenselessness of the LGBTI community "continue to rise," said the activist, who expressed his concern about the "lack of protection" towards the members of the group.

News Article

Worldwide the population of female prisoners is rising at immense rates. Since 2000, the number of women in prisons has grown by 60%. The hotspots of this development are Asia and Latin America. Today around 95,000 women are imprisoned in Latin America and the Caribbean countries. The stories of these women are often the same. Born into poor families many only reach low levels of education, leading to un- or underemployment. Often they have suffered from sexual abuse and violence. With a majority of  them being mothers, the pressure to put food on the table is even more pressing, a situation driving them into the low level drug trade.

In 2010, the UN adopted "the Bangkok Rules," a system that promotes non-custodial alternatives like community service, school education, job trainings and house arrest. Since 2014 the National Code of Criminal Procedures has allowed this procedure in Mexico, which has led to a notable reduction of female prisoners between 2014-2019. But more often than not, this comes with a price. The number of pre-trail detention cases has increased, and many choosing this path have to wear an electronic monitoring device. 

Electronic monitoring by itself is a popular alternative to incarceration both in United States and Mexico. But this "alternative" comes with a number of problems. Restrictions like a mandatory permission to leave the house and the need to recharge the ankle mounted device twice a day makes it next to impossible to hold a job and leads to heavy dependence on relatives or other supporters. In the eyes of advocates, electronic monitoring is not an alternative to incarceration but a reproduction of many aspects of incarceration in a person's home. In the city of Los Angeles, electronic monitoring, as a condition of pre-trial release has increased by 5,250% between 2015 and 2021. With most of the affected still awaiting their trail, the system violates the "innocent until proven guilty" law. Furthermore, electronic monitoring comes with a financial aspect. In the United States the costs of confinement are transferred to the individual, leading to a price check of $2,800 - $5,000 per year. Even though in Mexico costs are officially covered by the government, private companies providing the devices charge a fee of $250-$300 monthly--an extreme high amount in a country with a minimum wage of $180 a month. But financial issues are just one side of the problem. Especially in Mexico the need of electricity and a mobile signal often means that the person has to move into a different area; this is a difficult task for jobless and stigmatized individuals. In the worst case this can mean that women are forced to move in or stay with violent and abusive partners. Adding to all the social and financial difficulties are health issues like dry skin and deformation of the ankle.    

News Article

October 15 is known as the Rural Women's day. 

The Voices on the Border and IRTF celebrate the indigenous Rural Women and their tireless work fighting for equality, dignity, and an end to gender-based violence, both in their region and beyond.
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, Honduras, and Guatemala,  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.

IRTF’s Rapid Response Network (RRN) volunteers write six letters in response to 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.

News Article

As the Colombian government transitions from the right wing conservative Iván Duque to the leftist Gustavo Petro, the violence and crime holds on. 

WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America), has received reports of a multitude of cases of human rights violations including shootings, assassinations displacements and death threats. On the 12th of September an armed conflict broke out in the Afro-Colombian community in the town of San Miguel, displacing 100s of families, causing power outages and lockdowns. The  Afro-Colombian General Community Council of San Juan (Consejo Comunitario General de San Juan, ACADESAN) calls on the State to defend the human rights of the community and urges the armed groups to respect human rights and laws.

Only 2 days earlier, a hitman killed the secretary of administrative affairs of the Oil Workers Union (Unión Sindical Obrera, USO) Sibares Lamprea Vargas in a drive by shooting.  The Human Rights Ombudsman (Defensoría del Pueblo) issued an Early Warning Alert, indicating that trade unionists belonging to the USO face danger due to their activities. USO members are frequent targets of death threats intimidation and sabotage in their workplace. 

On September 9th, in Surcre, the female social leader Eva Amaya Vidal was killed in her home. Vidal participated in Sucre government innovation programms and was an example of leadership for other women. An early alert was issued stating that female social leaders are often targets based on their gender. 

The The Afro-Colombian Peace Council (Consejo Nacional de Paz de Afro-Colombianos, CONPA) reports that between July 27 and August 7,  957 male and female leaders as well as human rights activists were assasinatied, 261 signers of the peace accords were killed, and 1,192 people were killed in 313 massacres. Furthermore, the CONPA reports 2,366 death threats, 555 kidnappings and 178 early warnings. CONPA urges the government to declare a state of humanitarian emergency and to seek politically negotiated solutions to the conflicts. 

A full list of the WOLA reports can be found in the article below.   


News Article

Even though the LGBITQ+ community of Honduras is seen as equal on paper, the reality is often a different one.

Radical conservatives and many religious leaders are trying to stigmatize the LGBTIQ+ community, which makes up for  roughly 7-10% of the population. Misinformation and hate speech is used to keep LGBTIQ+ interests out of everyday lives of the Honduran population.

This article summarizes the struggles LGBTIQ+ citizens and organizations are confronted with, trying to claim their rights.