APUVIMEH Calls for an End to Impunity for the Murders of Walter Tróchez and other members of the LGBTI community in Honduras

On September 13th, PROAH accompanied APUVIMEH (Association for a Better Life for Persons Infected and Affected by HIV/AIDS in Honduras) for a walk and demonstration organized to demand justice for the murders of Walter Tróchez and other members of the LGBTI community in Honduras. As José Antonio Zambrano, President of APUVIMEH, explains in the press release for the event:

Two years and 9 months ago today, our companion Walter Orlando Trochez, Secretary of APUVIMEH, a leader of the LGBTTI community, an HIV activist, and a human rights defender, was murdered. He was a young man whose feelings, aspirations, and right to life was cut short. He struggled side-by-side with his people, a people arbitrarily jailed, beaten, humiliated and ill-treated by members of the police and Army. Through his writings and accompaniment of the public protests following the 2009 coup d’état, Walter offered his life for justice and freedom. Because of this, we are committed to demanding justice and the prosecution of those responsible for his vile murder perpetrated on 13 December 2009, in the center of Tegucigalpa.”

Since 2011, APUVIMEH has held these demonstrations on the 13th of the month, the monthly anniversary of Walter Tróchez’s death. They gather at the statue of ‘Simón Bolívar the Liberator’ in Tegucigalpa and walk from there to the Attorney General’s office (Ministerio Público), where they demand an end to impunity in the murders of the LGBTI community and deliver a communiqué to the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights. As APUVIMEH explains in their August 13th press release:

Included in the promotion and respect for human rights is the right to life, a dream that has been ended violently for more than 80 members of the Honduran sexual diversity community. One emblematic case is that of our colleague, Walter Trochez… we are asking the investigative unit of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights of the Attorney General’s office for a report on the investigation, its progress and obstacles.”

According to a report by La Red Cattrachasi, the period with the most violent deaths in the LGBTI community in recent years were the last six months of 2009, following the June 28, 2009 coup d’etat. During this time, 23 members of the LGBTI community, including Walter Tróchez, were killed. From 2010 until August 6, 2012, during the current Porfirio Lobo presidency, they report an additional 51 violent deaths in the Honduran LGBTI community.

On August 28, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned ] one of the most recent homicides in the LGBTI community, that of a 21-year old trans woman who was found dead in San Pedro Sula on August 2, 2012. The Commission’s press release explains her body “was found with a series of bullet wounds to her face and head. Also, her hands showed signs of being tied behind her back. According to the media, her relatives reported that four persons came to their house the day before, announcing they came as officers from the National Agency of Criminal Investigation (Dirección Nacional de Investigación Criminal), and took her, indicating she was arrested.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ press release also speaks to the issue of impunity:

In addition, the Commission notes that very frequently, problems exist in the investigation of those crimes, which involve, in part, failures to open lines of investigation into whether the crime was committed by reason of the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The ineffectiveness of the state response fosters high rates of impunity, which in turn lead to the chronic repetition of such crimes, leaving the victims and their families defenseless.”

It is in this context that the members of APUVIMEH took to the streets on September 13th, just as they had done on the 13th of the month before, to once again demand an end to impunity for murders in the LGBTI community.

i “Situación de las Muerte Violentas de la Comunidad LGTTBI en Honduras, resumen al 6 de agosto 2012.”

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