The Violent ‘Social Cleansing’ of Trans Women in Honduras May Soon Be Ending
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Depending on an incoming decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, trans women in Honduras — currently victims of violence at the hands of law enforcement — may finally see their human rights fulfilled.
The life expectancy for trans women in Honduras is only 30 to 35 years. Vicky Hernández was only 26 when she was found shot to death on the street in San Pedro Sula in 2009 — 12 years ago. Now, her case is at the center of what could be a major decision from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is mandated to protect human rights in the Americas.
Ms. Hernández’s case was heard in November in a virtual hearing before the Commission, during which the petitioners alleged that Honduras violated her right to life under the American Convention on Human Rights by choosing not to investigate her murder; and, that the country bears responsibility for Ms. Hernández’s death.
Cristian González Cabrera, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, had this to say: “The right to life is one of the most fundamental provisions in the American Convention, and effective investigations into its alleged violation are crucial to its preservation. As soon as state authorities become aware that someone has been killed or died in violent or suspicious circumstances, they are required to begin a serious, impartial, and effective investigation.”
Trans women in Honduras live in constant fear for their well-being, and “are constantly harassed, beaten and even killed, and that violence is often perpetrated by law enforcement.” One trans activist who fled the country in 2013 admitted that it’s considered to be a “social cleansing.”
Activists all over Latin America are eagerly awaiting the decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which will set a precedent for the entire region. This hearing was the first time trans women testified regarding the LGBTQ+ violence in Honduras in front of the Commission.