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Honduras Resists: Educator killed – Repression against Teachers – 19 Mar 2011

Honduras Resists

Educator killed – Repression against Teachers
Posted: 19 Mar 2011

La Voz de los de Abajo dennounces the murder of Ilese Velasquez and the ongoing brutality against the trade unions,
campesinos, and people of Honduras. We hold the regime of Porfirio Lobo responsible for the death of Ilese and for the repression
and impunity that reign. We also hold U.S. policy in Honduras responsible for the violence against the Honduran people and
condemn the U.S. government’s political and economic support for coup d‘ ‚etat and the continuation of the coup under Porfirio
Lobo.

Below is a brief report on Thursday and Friday’s repression summarized from different news sources including
Resistencia – Red de Informacion Morazanica

On Friday, March 18th Ilse Velasquez, a teacher’s union activist and a member of COFADEH since her brother Manuel Velazquez
was disappeared, was killed during a ferocious repression against a protest by educators in Tegucigalpa. The 59 year old
teacher lost consciousness on the street after a tear gas canister fired by the riot police struck her forehead. The cloud of toxic
smoke that surrounded her severely affected the respiratory system. Moments after, Mrs. Velasquez was hit by a car that caused
severe internal injuries. Although Ilse was assisted by other teachers and demonstrators that took her to a nearby hospital, she
died after being cared for in an emergency room. The existing video captured by security cameras shows the driver of the car that
struck the educator losing control due to tear gas exposure.

On Thursday, army and police forces fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at demonstrators in several cities and detained
around fifty people. In Tegucigalpa, anti-riot police, supported by Army troops, used brutal force to disperse thousands of
demonstrators gathered in Miraflores boulevard, the Committee of Relatives of the Detained Disappeared denounced. Security
forces also dispersed demonstrations in El Paraiso and Comayagua. President of the Federation of Teaching Organizations in
Honduras, Joel Almendarez, revealed that at least 10 of his comrades were beaten and needed to be taken to hospital.

The demonstrators protested against a bill, presented before the National Congress, envisaging passing over State
education responsibility to the councils, thus leading to privatization of education to the detriment of poorest sectors,
according to teaching leaders.

The protestors also demanded payment of delayed salaries to thousands of teachers and paying off the Executive’s
debt to the National Institute of Teachers‘ Welfare.

Demonstrations this week also involved transportation workers, who protested a rise in fuel prices, and other sectors that
oppose a rise in family food basket prices.

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Statement by the Movement for Sexual Diversity in Resistance – Lunes 14 de Marzo de 2011

Statement by the Movement for Sexual Diversity in Resistance Regarding Rising Violence Directed at LGBTI Hondurans
Lunes 14 de Marzo de 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011.
Honduras’ Movement for Sexual Diversity in Resistance (or MDR – it’s acronym is Spanish condemns the alarming increase in murders and other hate crimes targeting members of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Intersex (LGBTI) community. MDR also denounces the negligent, disingenuous, and duplicitous response to the above by the Honduran illegitimate government led by Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

Since the June 28, 2009 coup d’état led by political, military, and religious elites, there have been 37 murders of LGBTI individuals. Records show from 2000 to the time of the coup, the number of murders targeting LGBTI folks amounted to ten. The surge in the last 1 ½ years represents a 2,000% increase per year.

Portraying this situation as “normal,” (as recent press releases by Honduras’ National Bureau of Criminal Investigations have attempted to do) or simply shrugging off the murders as personal quarrels ending crimes of passion or as the outcome of generalized homophobia and/or a result of the country’s culture is problematic and naive and serves only to perpetuate unsubstantiated, reckless, and misinformed biases.

MDR is reaching out to the international community, national and international human rights organizations, and the people of Honduras and expresses its concern over the large number of the members of our community that have been brutally murdered. MDR echoes its alarm over the reigning state of impunity surrounding their killings, and the complete incompetence with which the government bodies entrusted with public security and access to justice have handled them.

We wish to highlight the following:

• The repression and “social cleansing” enacted by the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti Bain, which took power immediately after the coup, did not end with the transfer of power to the regime successor Porfirio Lobo. In the past 13 months since Mr. Lobo took over the government there have been 14 murders perpetrated against members of our community. None of those murders has been investigated in depth and no judicial proceedings have been launched.

• On January 27, 2011, Mr. Lobo laid bare to the national media and international community, the inability and incompetence of the Honduran judicial system when he asked the U.S. Department of State to intervene and help investigate and prosecute the murders and assassinations of journalists and LGBTI folks in post-coup Honduras. Addressing the issue by handing over the administration of justice to a foreign government is an irrational move by the Lobo regime.

• That day, Mr. Lobo also derisively referred to the murders and assassinations of LGBTI folks in post-coup Honduras as “allegations about one or two gays being murdered“ demonstrating his complete indifference and disregard about the crimes.

• Last November, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council reviewed the situation on the ground in Honduras. The Council’s conclusions and recommendations underscored the Hondurans’ sense of defenselessness as the country’s laws are flaunted with impunity. The Human Rights Council made a series of recommendations to the Honduran regime underscoring its concern for the increase in extra judicial executions based on sexual orientation. As of today, the regime has not taken any concrete steps to follow up on those recommendations or to signal any serious interest in preventing hate crimes or strengthening the justice system to respond to them.

• The undisputed main goal of the Honduran regime is to secure international recognition and whitewash its illegitimate rise to power. In trying to do just that, the regime has resorted to trickery and deceit, by relying on a media campaign intended to give the false appearance of reaching out to LGBTI groups. With this cynical and desperate gesture, Mr. Lobo hopes to portray himself and his regime as intent on enforcing human rights laws, investigating of the murders and assassinations above, and prosecuting those responsible – a move intended to give the impression that the regime is following up on the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council last November.

• Mr. Lobo has a dangerous and contradictory track record of disingenuous and duplicitous moves as evidenced by the wild fluctuations of his political philosophy – from militant communist in the ‘70s to conservative and sometimes fascist politician during the last decade (promoting the death penalty, the treatment of juvenile offenders as hardened criminals, and outright aggression against the LGBTI community). Today he tries to hides his religious fundamentalist views by portraying himself as a Christian humanist.

• The Honduran National Congress, acting as Mr. Lobo’s covert agent, underscores the regime’s outright homophobia and the pandering to ultra-conservative groups within the Catholic and Evangelical Churches. In contravention of the Iberian-American Youth Convention (to which Honduras is a party), Congress approved a National Youth Policy that left out any mention of work aimed at preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Both the National Youth Policy and the Iberian-American Youth Convention are key mechanisms to help prevent violence and hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

• The regime continues to pursue a policy of heavy-handed repression to address growing insecurity and violence in the country. Instead of strengthening the justice system and establishing a comprehensive policy of public safety that centers on the prevention of violence and crime, the regime has chosen to deploy army troops to urban setting where they patrol the streets with the National Police. The army’s role as the principal aggressor and perpetrator of violence and crimes against the Honduran people, particularly LGBTI Hondurans, is widely known and documented.

• Additionally, Congress is considering a bill that would violate constitutional guarantees and give the National Police and the Army the power and authority to detain suspects for longer periods without just cause. The expected outcome is an upsurge in human rights violations directed at LGBTI folks.

In light of the above, the Movement for Sexual Diversity in Resistance urgently demands the following:

a) The establishment of a framework designed to promote and protect the civil rights of persons from the LGBTI community and prevent homophobic violence and hate crimes.

b) The investigation of all hate crimes directed at LGBTI folks (as denounced and condemned at the national and international level by LGBTI groups) and the timely prosecution of those responsible.

c) The strengthening of the Honduran justice system to be able to address its lack of autonomy, its slow rate of responsiveness, and its indifference to the wave of violence gripping the country, and in particular its indifference to hate crimes based on the victim’s real or perceived sexual orientation.

d) The adoption of real and concrete measures to counter discrimination, violence, homophobia and the persistent violation of human rights within and by the rank and file of the National Police and the Army. We call for the review investigation of the officers accused of violating the human rights of the Honduran people and in particular the LGBTI community, removing them from their duties during the investigations. Additionally, the National Police and the Army need to incorporate diversity training addressing sexual orientation and gender identity in order for them to assume and recognize their role as protectors of human rights.

Issued by the Honduran Movement for Sexual Diversity in Resistance, in Tegucigalpa, on March 7, 2011

Sexual Diversity Movement in Resistance (MDR)

Resistimos y venceremos!

Positive Results from Call to End Murders of LGBT People in Honduras

Positive Results from Call to End Murders of LGBT People in Honduras
03/08/2011

In an overwhelming show of support, over 1400 people responded to the Action Alert issued by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Honduran organization Red Lesbica Cattrachas on January 10, 2011. The Action Alert, calling for an investigation and response to the more than 31 murders of gay and transgender people that have occurred in Honduras since the coup in June 2009, has, in the two months since its issue, seen positive results.(….)

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/globalactionalerts/1361.html

Hate crimes, killings rising, say Honduras activists

Hate crimes, killings rising, say Honduras activists
By Rafael Romo, CNN Video

(CNN) — Hate crimes from beatings to murders are rising in Honduras but investigations and prosecutions are rare with few victims receiving help, according to the gay community.(….)

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/01/31/honduras.hate.crimes/index.html

Three Murders in Two Weeks: Protest the Killings of LGBTI People in Honduras

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.

Send a message to Honduran authorities » Take action now!

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1870/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1202989

Background
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On December 22, 2010 in Comayagüela, a 23-year-old travesti named Lorenza (legal name: Luis) 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.

The same day, another travesti, Lady Oscar (legal name: 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.

Send a message to the Honduran authorities » http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1870/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5477