Murder of Honduran LGBT Activist Must Be Carefully Investigated
Freedom House is deeply concerned by the increase in attacks against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) human rights defenders in Honduras, including the recent murder of Erick Martinez Avila, an LGBT activist, who was found dead yesterday morning in Tegucigalpa after going missing two days earlier. Freedom House asks authorities to conduct a swift and exhaustive investigation of Avila’s death, and to not rule out that the motive may have been related to Avila’s work.
Martinez was a well-known gay rights activist who worked for Asociación Kukulkan, which promotes LGBT rights in Honduras.
“Latin America has experienced a spike in attacks and killings against the LGBT community” said Viviana Giacaman, director for Latin America programs at Freedom House. “We urge countries in the region to revamp their legal frameworks in order to expand safeguards to protect the LGBT community and prevent discrimination and hate crimes.”
At the beginning of the year, two LGBT activists were killed in the region. Daniel Zamudio, a gay activist from Chile, was brutally beaten to death by neo-Nazis and Agnés Torres Hernández, a transgender activist from Mexico, was killed in Puebla. Both crimes were widely condemned by the international community.
According to a report by the Honduran Ombudsman, at least 20 LGBT activists had been killed between 2010 and 2011 and no one has been convicted for any of these crimes. Honduras is ranked partly free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and partly free in Freedom of the Press 2011.