UPDATE #2: U.S. Embassy in Honduras expresses concern for recent killings of members of the LGBT community
UPDATE #1: There have been three more murders, including that of another transgender woman, since IGLHRC sent their original alert. IGLHRC also says that 1,000 people have added their name to a statement condemning the murders and asking authorities to take action. You can ad your name by filling out this form]
From the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC):
Over the past two weeks, three travestis have been murdered in separate incidents in Honduras. In two of the incidents, the victims were set on fire either before or after their deaths. This means that in the past year and a half, there has been a total of now 31 the murders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Honduras. Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Honduran LGBTI organization Red Cattrachas in calling for immediate investigations and demanding state action to prevent future killings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.IGLHRC is using the Spanish word travesti which is more commonly used than transgénero (transgender) throughout Latin America. The details:
On December 22, 2010 in Comayagüela, a 23-year-old travesti named Lorenza Alexis Alvarado Hernández was found dead, her body visibly beaten and burned. Bloody stones near her corpse indicate that the bruises covering her body were caused by stoning. Her body was set on fire. Used condoms found nearby have led to the suspicion that she may also have been raped. After her death, the assailants threw her body into a ditch. News reports indicate that severe injuries to her face rendered her corpse virtually unrecognizable.How to take action? Well, IGLHRC also has information on that as well. Click here and, in a few seconds, you can ad your voice to those calling for justice in these killings:
The same day, another travesti, Lady Oscar Martinez Salgado, age 45, was found burned to death in her home in Barrio El Rincón of Tegucigalpa. Her body showed multiple stab wounds. Neighbors report witnessing two suspicious individuals running from her house as the fire ignited.
Less than two weeks later, on January 2, 2011, a young travesti known only as Cheo was found murdered on the main street of Colonia Alameda in Tegucigalpa. Her body was left without legal documentation. She appears to have died from a severe stab wound to her chest.
These killings are not isolated incidents. Since the 2009 coup d'état in Honduras, there have been 31 murders of LGBTI people documented by Red Cattrachas. More deaths of LGBT people have likely gone unreported. At least one of those killed, Walter Trochez, was a prominent human rights defender. In the majority of the cases, there have been no investigation or prosecution of the crimes. Since the coup, all Hondurans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have been subjected to increased violence and have received little protection from authorities; however, LGBT people been particularly vulnerable to attack. Impunity nationwide has created this deadly spike in violence.
In response to pressure from local human rights activists, the Honduran Minister of Human Rights and the Tegucigalpa Chief of Homicide have assigned two investigators to these murders. However, no one has yet been charged in the recent deaths, and there is little evidence that the investigations are underway.
Urge the Honduran authorities to conduct immediate investigations into each of the recent murders of travestis, to hold perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and to prevent similar attacks in the future. Let officials know that the world mourns these tragic deaths and demands that LGBTI killings stop.Those authorities include Honduran president Porfirio Lobo, from the center-right conservative political National Party, who has yet to say a word.
Furthermore, it's not as if these crimes haven't gone unreported. The leading Honduran newspapers have ran prominent stories on these crimes, albeit in a somewhat sensationalistic way. They have also published a number of truly horrific images of the scenes of the crime which I would not normally reproduce on this blog.
Except tonight I am making an exception because this is a story that needs to be told and because I hope the horror of sharing these images will motivate people to take a few minutes to demand that the Honduran government get involved in putting a stop to this.
WARNING: Very graphic images below the fold...
Dec. 29, 2010: A transgender woman only known as Cheo dies from being stabbed in her chest. Authorities have yet to determine who killed her nor the motive for the crime (Source: La Tribuna).
January 7, 2010: The latest gruesome murder which is not even included in yesterday's IGLHRC alert: Authorities say that the bodies of an unidentified man and a transgender woman known as Genesis were dumped on the street after they had been previously strangled to death (Source: Tiempo)