IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Condemns Violence against Trans Persons in Honduras

July 18, 2019

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9000
mrivero@oas.org

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns acts of violence committed against trans persons in Honduras. It urges Honduran authorities to investigate, prosecute, and punish the people responsible for those acts of violence, considering the possibility that they may have been motivated by prejudice based on victims’ sexual orientation, real or perceived gender expression/identity, or sexual characteristics. The IACHR stresses its concern about the high levels of violence against trans persons in the region and about trans persons’ low life expectancy.

The IACHR has been following with great concern an increase in the number of acts of violence against trans women in Honduras, particularly three murders committed in the first week of July. According to publicly available reports, on July 6, 2019, Santi Carbajal, director of the local television program La Galaxia de Santi, was murdered in Puerto Cortés after receiving several threats. On July 8, Antonia Lainez, 38, a resident of the Yoro department, was murdered with a firearm. On the same day, trans woman Bessy Ferrera, 40—a defender of the rights of LGBTI persons and people living with HIV—was murdered by unknown attackers from a moving vehicle. According to reports, another trans woman was also seriously injured in this attack. The IACHR notes that police have identified suspects and arrested two people in connection with Ferrera’s murder.

The Commission warns that these are not isolated acts of violence. During an in loco visit in 2018, the IACHR observed that LGBTI persons live in a context marked by frequent physical, psychological, and sexual violence. The Commission further noted that these acts of violence often go unpunished. The IACHR has been informed that, from the beginning of 2019 until July 9, 21 LGBTI persons had suffered violent deaths in Honduras. In this context, Commissioner Flávia Piovesan, IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons, stressed that “States must take all measures necessary to prevent violations of the human rights of LGBTI persons under their jurisdiction, and they also have an obligation to eradicate impunity for crimes perpetrated against LGBTI persons. Failing to do this sends the social message that those actions are accepted or tolerated.”

The IACHR admits that it is difficult to establish when acts of violence against LGBTI persons are motivated by prejudice or discrimination. However, in cases involving persons with sexual orientations, gender identities and/or expressions, and bodily features that differ from socially accepted patterns, States must conduct thorough and impartial investigations that are free from stereotypes and take into consideration the various factors that make these victims particularly vulnerable, which includes defending their human rights.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 176/19