Juan Orlando Hernández
President of Honduras
Oscar Chinchilla Banegas
Attorney General of Honduras
Dear President Hernández and Attorney General Chinchilla:
We are outraged at the assassination of Paolo Barraza on January 24 by unknown attackers in front of her house in the neighborhood of Lempira, in Comayaguela. Paola Barraza, a trans woman, was a member of the board of directors of the LGTB Rainbow Association (Asociación LGTB Arcoíris) which works for equality and equity for the lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual and intersex (LGTBI) community.
At 8pm on January 24 when Paola Barraza answered a knock on her door she was shot three times in the head and twice in the chest. She died at the scene. The killing was reported to the authorities charged with investigating crimes against members of the LGTBI community. However, as of January 27, no investigator had been assigned to the case.
Paola Barraza was hospitalized on August 15, 2015 after an attack near the Arcoíris office when unknown men shot her numerous times, with one bullet hitting her face. Between June 23 and August 31, 2015, three LGTBI rights defenders were killed, with several more subjected to physical assault, intimidation and threats (cf our letter of Sept 24, 2015).
The LGTB Rainbow Association has continued to operate in spite of increasingly extreme levels of violence against them. Because of our deep concern for the rights of LGTBI persons, we strongly urge that you
- publicly condemn the killing of Paola Barraza;
- carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into her assassination, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice;
- take all necessary measures to guarantee the security of the members of the LGTB Rainbow Association and all LGTBI human rights defenders;
- guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai and Christine Stonebraker Martínez
Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes, Honduran Amabassador to the US
James Nealon, US Ambassador to Honduras
Olivia Franken, Honduras Desk, US State Dept
Francisco José Eguiguren Praeli, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Rapporteur for Honduras and for the Rights of LGTBI Persons
US Senators Brown & Portman and US Representatives Fudge, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Joyce, Kaptur, Latta, Renacci, Ryan