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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 14, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 02
U.S. Embassy in Honduras concerned about LGBT murders
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U.S. Embassy in Honduras concerned about LGBT murders

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, issued a statement on January 19 expressing concern over several recent murders of LGBT Hondurans.

'The U.S. Embassy notes with concern the five killings that have been committed against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community since December 18, with the latest being in San Pedro Sula January 17,' the statement says.

'The protection of Honduran law extends to all its citizens regardless of sexual orientation and the Lobo Administration has repeatedly expressed its commitment to defend the rights of all Honduran citizens.

'It is in this regard that we call upon Honduran law enforcement authorities to vigorously investigate these crimes, bring to justice the perpetrators, and take all necessary steps to protect LGBT persons, who are among the most vulnerable to violence and abuse in Honduras.'

Most of the murders were of Transgender women.

UNAIDS had also issued a statement condemning the killings on January 17.

'UNAIDS urges the government of Honduras to take every step to investigate these killings thoroughly,' said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe. 'All forms of discrimination, including Transphobia, block access to HIV prevention programs and impact the quality of care for people living with HIV.'

The IGLHRC issued an action alert on January 10, to protest the initial series of three murders in two weeks.

On January 13, a number of Honduran LGBT rights advocates protested outside the national Public Prosecutor's office, demanding action against the killers.

Holding banners that called for an end to hate crimes and graphic images of the murdered Transgender women that had been featured on the covers of local tabloids, activists charged that the prosecutor had done little to stem the violence.

According to La Prensa, activists called attention to the murder of well-known LGBT rights activist Walter Trochez on December 13, 2009. His murder is still unsolved more than a year later.

According to La Tribuna newspaper, Public Prosecutor Sandra Ponce stepped out of her office and expressed concern about these crimes:

'The Prosecutor's Office is giving priority to every case, independently of whether it's our responsibility to pursue state officials who commit human rights violations while on duty; nevertheless, taking note that there might be an element of discrimination and homophobia in these killings, we have put them under investigation,' she said in her statement to the activists.

Honduran activists said they knew of 31 Transgender women who had been murdered since June 28, 2009.

June 28, 2009 is the date of the coup that overthrew democratically elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.

It was widely believed that government agents were responsible for the Trochez murder. Trochez was a Zelaya supporter.

The current president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, was elected in November 2009 and took office in January 2010.

According to Human Rights Watch, eight journalists and 10 Zelaya supporters have been murdered since Lobo took office.

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