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Gender & Sexual Solidarity: News & Updates
RRN Case Update
February 13, 2020
RRN case summaries at a glance
On behalf of our 190 Rapid Response Network members, IRTF volunteers write and send six letters each month to government officials in southern Mexico, Colombia, and Central America (with copies to officials in the US). Who is being targeted? indigenous and Afro-descendant leaders, labor organizers, LGBTI rights defenders, women’s rights defenders, journalists, environmental defenders, and others. By signing our names to these crucial letters, human rights crimes are brought to light, perpetrators are brought to justice and lives are spared. Our solidarity is more important than ever. Together, our voices do make a difference.
February 10, 2020
A gay refugee from El Salvador who said he fled gang violence and spent a year traveling to get to the U.S. is suing the Trump administration for sending him to Guatemala as a "safe third country." After a member of the MS-13 gang threatened him in El Salvador & his mom disowned him, he came to the U.S. But he was sent to Guatemala instead. Why does the U.S. consider Guatemala a "safe third country" for LGBTQ asylum seekers? A 2012 report from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said that states that LGBTQ people in Guatemala face “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including a constant threat of violence that amounts to torture, forced disappearances, sexual violence in detention centers, and non-consensual medical testing.”
February 4, 2020
We expect hundreds of people of all ages to attend our Social Justice Teach-In on February 8 and engage in a variety of workshops covering issues such as environmentalism, food justice, peacemaking, racial justice, refugees, state-sponsored violence, creative nonviolence, and worker justice. Most of the attendees will be high school and college students from 30-35 schools, who can attend for free because of the generosity of dozens of co-sponsors. Please support this important event that empowers young people to become leaders for positive social change.
January 29, 2020
Policy recommendation: The US State Dept should release aid to civil society and accountable local governments for violence prevention, poverty reduction, opportunities for youth at risk, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, anti-corruption efforts and human rights initiatives, while withholding all military assistance.
January 28, 2020
The White House focus on migration is almost exclusively driving U.S. government diplomacy towards the two countries, as well as towards El Salvador. U.S. aid for violence prevention, opportunities for youth at risk, and rural poverty reduction was suspended, and while the release of some $140 million in aid was announced in October 2019, most appears to be redirected towards implementing migration accords and strengthening borders. Programs to improve justice systems, expand civil society anti-corruption efforts, prevent violence, and protect LGBTQ+ rights have been slashed. Concern for corruption and rights violations is largely sidelined —even though corruption and rights violations are some of the very drivers of forced migration from the region.
January 24, 2020
Our Rapid Response Network sent a letter to President Ortega of Nicaragua regarding a recent attack on the son and nephew of women human rights defender Reyna Isabel Rodríguez Palacios, who was granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in September of 2018. On January 5 in Ciudad Sandino, gunmen shot and wounded her son Álvaro Antonio Báez Rodríguez (age 33) and nephew Andison Francisco Chávez Rodríguez (age 27) during an attempt to kidnap them. Reyna Isabel Rodríguez Palacios is an active member of MAM (Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres de Nicaragua). Although MAM has historically been independent of any political party alignment, Reyna Rodríguez Palacios is active in the Blue and White National Unity Party and was recently elected to the party’s Political Council. She has experienced harassment at home. Police and paramilitary forces have been surrounding and surveilling her home. The surveillance activity and the attack against her son and nephew appear to be in retaliation for her political party activity in opposition to the Sandinista government.
January 18, 2020
"An Act of Love" tells the story of the Rev. Frank Shaeffer's decision to officiate the marriage of his son to another man and the consequences of breaking the rules. Panel discussion will follow with guests Rev.Dr. J Bennett Guess of the ACLU, Rev. Dr. Steve Bailey of the United Methodist Church-North Coast District, and Rev. Dr. Bentley de Bardelaben-Phillips of United Church of Christ national office.
January 14, 2020
War and militarism’s impact on women and girls; rape as a war crime; military sexual trauma; why permitting or requiring women to serve in combat is not a feminist act; and how women have been part of peace movements throughout history.
December 24, 2019
We are dismayed to learn that Lisiania Zelaya, lawyer, artist and member of the Amorales Collectve, has been convicted of slander against Ricardo Mendoza and fined US$ 2,027. Since 2016, artists of Amorales have denounced Ricardo Mendoza, a professor at the School of Drama at UES, whom they accuse of abusing his female students during rehearsals of theater productions. Abusive actions, which have been condemned by present and former students, include his asking them to take off their clothes for him. On May 27, members of the Amorales Collective received subpoenas from the Sixth Sentencing Court of San Salvador accusing them of slander and damage to Mendoza’s honor and personal reputation. The conviction of Lisiania Zelaya highlights the struggle of women against systematic, institutionalized violence.
November 28, 2019
Brighiit Mirón, a 15-year-old transgender teenager, was killed on November 9, 2019, with a bullet in the head in the Chipilapa neighborhood, in La Gomera, a municipality in the department of Escuintla in central-southern Guatemala, 47 kilometers from the city. In the report “Enough of trans genocide” by RedLactrans and Otrans in 2018, it indicates that 90% of the victims are Guatemalan trans women. The other 10% of the victims were trans women from other countries in the northern triangle of Central America, for whom the passage through the country has not been a guarantee of an improvement in their quality of life or of their protection.