With deep concern, IRTF has been following reports of violence against and the murders of many LGBTQ rights defenders and members of the community in Honduras for many years. In 2009, well-known activist Vicky Hernández was killed, and since then, many more people have died or have had to flee Honduras because of serious safety threats. Impunity and injustice in cases of violence against LGBTQ people has been an ongoing pattern.
RRN letter APR 2017- excerpt
“We condemn the killing of Sherlyn Montoya, who went missing April 2. Sherlyn was a member of LGBT Rainbow Association, an organization which works for equality and justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community. […] This is not the first targeting of LGBTI human rights defenders. […] According to Muñecas de Arcoíris, there have been 269 targeted killings of LGBTI people in Honduras since 1994. The precise number is impossible to determine because of the social stigma. Families and public institutions often refrain from acknowledging or informing that these killings were motivated by the sexual orientation or gender identity of the victims. These individuals must be protected.“
RRN letter JAN 2022- excerpt
“We, members of the InterReligious Task Force, are deeply saddened over the assassination of Thalía Rodríguez, a long-time, prominent LGBTI activist, and distressed over the legacy of impunity that such crimes carry in Honduras. On January 10, she became the first transwoman murdered in Honduras this year and the 400th trans person killed in Honduras since 2009, when famous trans activists Vicky Hernández was assassinated the night of the coup d'état. Impunity runs rampant in crimes against LGBTI persons in Honduras. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling in June 2021 against the state of Honduras for the killing of Vicky Hernández was a rare exception to the impunity. Even President Juan Orlando Hernández has declared LGBTI activists as enemies of the people.”
On May 9, 2022, Honduran President Xiomara Castro gave an official apology on behalf of the State of Honduras, condemning the murder of trans woman and activist Vicky Hernández in 2009. Castro stated that “we recognize before the international community, the Honduran people and the family of Vicky Hernández the responsibility of the State of Honduras in the events that led to her death.” Earlier this year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) declared the State of Honduras responsible for the death of Vicky Hernández. Additionally, President Castro announced future efforts by the government to investigate in and bring justice to cases of violence and murder against LGBTQ people and activists, as well as improving the collection of data around such incidences.
IRTF appreciates the President Castro’s official apology and the promises made to more intensively investigate and monitor cases of violence against members of the LGBTQ community in Honduras. Violence against queer activists and civilians has been an ongoing human rights concern in the Central American country, and the situation has worsened over the years. We hope that the new government in Honduras will be able to keep their promises and successfully end violence against LGBTQ people and other human rights defenders.
Rapid Response Network
InterReligious Task Force on Central America
3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland OH 44113 • 216.961.0003