Patricio Vindel, the Executive Director of OPROUCE, an LGBT rights organization in northern Honduras, received several text messages threatening his life last fall. The situation escalated dramatically on January 22, when unidentified individuals broke into the organization’s yard and spray painted, “Patricio, you are going to die” on the office wall.
Anyone targeted by graffiti such as this would have cause for alarm. Unfortunately, the situation is much worse for Vindel because of the pattern of homophobic violence in his country. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), at least 31 LGBT individuals were murdered in Honduras—a small country with a population roughly the same size as that of New York City—from June 2009 to January 2011. A report by the Honduran government’s own Human Rights Commissioner found that at least 20 LGBT people were murdered in 2010 and 2011.
The individuals who threaten, rape, and murder members of the LGBT community in Honduras are confident that they will not be punished because they commit these acts of homophobic violence in a climate of impunity. The Honduran authorities have still not brought any charges, for example, in the 2009 murder of LGBT activist Walter Trochez. This climate of impunity is made even worse by the ongoing threats and attacks against journalists and other human rights defenders in Honduras.
Take action and tell the Honduran government that Patricio Vindel must not become the latest victim of homophobic violence in their country!
Unfortunately, violence against LGBT individuals and activists in not unique to Honduras. You can find out more about attacks on lesbian and gay human rights defenders in the Americas in Amnesty International’s Transforming Pain into Hope report (see pp. 42-44.)