Saturday, January 22, 2011

Update: The United States Ambassador to Honduras addresses transgender murders

An update: As I wrote Wednesday, the United States Embassy in Honduras has taken the highly unusual step of releasing an official statement asking the Honduran government and it's authorities to investigate a number of recent murders committed against members of the LGBT community in Honduras.

Hugo Llorens (pictured), the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, sat down to talk yesterday with La Prensa and was asked about the murders and the official statement from his office. Here is what he said:
"The gay community in many countries, including mine, is very vulnerable to discrimination and harassment. It's not an unique problem to Honduras, but it is worrisome that the five murders have occurred within a period of a little month than a month.  That's why we have asked the authorities in charge to apply the extent of the law [and] to see the situation as a threat to human rights."
I am so impressed that the ambassador doesn't shy away from admitting that gays in the United States are not immune to discrimination or persecution, nor from stepping up and firmly asking the Honduran government to take matters at hand.

This is the same guy who got into some WikiLeaks trouble when it was revealed he'd sent cables to the United States Department of Defense calling the 2009 ouster of left-wing president Manuel Zelaya "illegal" and "unconstitutional" (this from a Cuban-American guy appointed as ambassador to Honduras by President George W. Bush).

You might think that this might disqualify the Ambassador from being heard by the current right-wing administration of president Porfirio Lobo Sosa but you'd be wrong.

Combined with the pressure put upon the Honduras government by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), UNAIDS, the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Transgender People (REDLACTRANS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, and Honduran LGBT rights activists, there finally seems to be movement from authorities in resolving and preventing these crimes.

Yesterday, José Romero Luna, the Vice-Minister of the government's Security Commission, said the department was very well aware of the persecution against transgender people in Honduras and had launched investigations into these crimes, according to El Heraldo. He also said the department was ready to collaborate in developing preventive measures to protect the transgender community from these type of crimes.

Marco Palma, of the Honduran Criminal Investigation Division (DNIC), told the paper that their investigations had advanced and that they expected imminent arrests in at least three of the recent crimes.

The local, regional and international pressure on the Honduran government is definitely working.  If you haven't added your signature to a call for justice in these crimes, please do so by clicking here and completing the form.


1 comment:

libhom said...

If the Obama administration hadn't given quiet support to the coup, these murders wouldn't be happening.