“Before I left Honduras, we suffered one or two assaults a week. Sometimes they were not assaults, but acts of intimidation so we would stop our activities. I received several threatening phone calls. They told us we were being watched, they knew what time we left the office, where we lived, everything. I was scared because telephone threats were not common at that time and the director of the NGO [where he worked] had been murdered months before.”
“I bought a mobile phone for emergencies, and four days afterward I got robbed. Two men got out of a car and threatened me with a gun. I filed a complaint, but the policeman laughed at us and called us culeros [faggots]. Then I knew it was too dangerous. It was time to leave,” said a young gay man who left Honduras in January of this year. He became the first case in Costa Rica to be granted refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation.
According to human rights organizations in Honduras, over 100 LGBT people have been murdered since the 2009 coup d’etat. Under the de facto government of President Porfirio Lobo, a majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Honduras have been victims of violence, including harassment, beating and ill treatment.
Hivos and the European Union, in partnership with Kukulcan Association, have therefore launched the project, “Building a basis for a society that respects human rights, with recognition of sexual diversity”, to be implemented in the Sula Valley of Honduras.
Hivos will work with the Sexual Diversity Committee, comprised of representatives of local NGOs such as Gay Community Sampedrano for Integral Health (Comunidad Gay Sampedrano para la Salud Integral), Pink Color Association (Unidad Color Rosa), Cepres Association, and the collectives Crisálidas and Gemas. This project will contribute 475 000 EUR over three years, 64 per cent funded by the E.U and 37 per cent by Hivos.
The initiative seeks to build a more integrated society in Honduras with systems that protect human rights without discrimination. To achieve this, advocacy will be needed to enact antidiscrimination public policy that affords equal rights and opportunities to every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Another goal is to achieve –and monitor- the commitments undertaken by the government, including improved, impartial and effective criminal investigations, particularly those related to hate crimes against LGBT people. Continuing the fight against impunity, the project will demand the identification and prosecution of perpetrators.
Hivos, in alliance with local-specialized partners in human rights issues, will hold capacity building activities, support research papers and publish a final report with the project results.
LGBT Rights has been part of Hivos’ Rights and Citizenship program since the 1990s. Hivos backs the acceptance of sexual minorities, the fight against homophobia, mobilization for political change and worldwide coalition building.