(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
While same-sex acts are legal in Honduras, public morality laws in Honduras are interpreted in such way as to target transgender persons.
Article 142(3) of the Law on Police and Social Affairs 2002 provides police authorities with powers to arrest any person who ‘exhibits total nudity or goes against modesty, proper conduct and public morals… and disturbs the neighbours’ tranquillity with their immoral conduct’.
Article 321 of the Criminal Code sanctions discrimination on grounds of ‘sex, race, age, class, religion, political or party militancy, disability or any other that harms human dignity’. This provision makes no express reference to sexual orientation or gender identity, however.
Human Rights First reports that a Honduran LGBTI activist was granted asylum in the United States in 2009 on grounds of her lesbian orientation.
PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE’S CAPACITY TO PROTECT
In its 2012 Human Rights Report for Honduras, the US State Department highlights that LGBTI persons are often harassed and abused by police authorities. In its 2009 report entitled Not Worth a Penny, Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that policemen abuse their powers under the law to extort sex and money from transgender persons. According to HRW, at least 17 transgender people were killed in public places between 2004 and 2008, whilst many more were beaten, stabbed or shot.
The change in the country’s political regime in 2009 has brought no improvement in the treatment of LGBTI persons. On the contrary, the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board and human rights organisations such as Fédération Internationale pour les Droits de l’Homme note that the 2009 coup d’état has brought about dramatic deterioration in the treatment of LGBTI groups.
More than 70 murders of LGBTI activists have been reported since 2009, according to Freedom House. The murder of LGBTI activist Walter Orlando Trochez, shot on 14 December 2009 in Tegucigalpa, provoked considerable uproar among human rights groups. Other cases receiving widespread media attention involve the murder of 3 transgender persons in late 2010 and early 2011, two of whom were set on fire, according to Resistencia Honduras and Human Rights Watch. This evidence is backed by a 2011 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights before the Human Rights Council.
The Honduran government established a special unit within the Attorney General’s office in Tegucigalpa in February 2011 and San Pedro Sula in January 2012 to investigate crimes against the LGBTI community, as well as a Sexual Diversity Unit in the Honduran police force, reports Freedom House. In 2012, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mrs Margaret Sekaggya, also called on the Honduran government to take further steps in protecting LGBTI persons.
Nevertheless, violent attacks against LGBTI groups have not been reduced. The US State Department refers to the murder of activist Erick Martinez on 7 May 2012 in its latest report. Frontline Defenders recently reported that a transgender activist, Jonatan Cruz, was shot in June 2013, while another LGBTI rights defender, Arely Victoria Gomez, was beaten and robbed by four men on 9 August 2013.
LGBTI persons do not have access to effective state protection from extreme violence. As Human Rights Watch explains, ‘impunity for these cases has been the norm’. No one has been convicted under the Criminal Code for such hate crimes as of November 2012.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS)
200 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel: +415 581 88 36
Fax: +415 581 88 24
The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) has resources for women seeking asylum on account of domestic violence, including country conditions information on DV in Honduras and an expert declaration on DV in Honduras. If you would like to receive a copy of this information, please fill out a request for information on our website and we will respond shortly.
We provide all resources at no cost.
We have country conditions information and advisory materials for a number of other countries and topics, especially information regarding gender-based violence, persecution of LGBT individuals, and children.
We cover anywhere and everywhere, although our resources regarding DV and violence against women in Mexico and Central America are the most extensive.
We have information packets for over 100 countries and with 4-6 weeks’ notice are happy to produce new packets for specific cases concerning gender, LGBT, or children’s issues. In addition to those packets, we have general expert declarations regarding DV in Mexico, violence against indigenous women in Mexico, DV in Guatemala, DV in Honduras, DV in El Salvador, violence against women generally in El Salvador, one on FGC generally, and one on incest.
If you have a case for which you are in need of assistance, please feel free to submit a request at the above URL and we will share with you anything that may be of help.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS
We do not currently list any experts on LGBTI issues in Honduras, but welcome suggestions.
Researched by: Minos Mouzourakis