Congressman Eliot Engel calls on Honduran government to end impunity for human rights abuses directed at the country’s LGBT community

By Mark Bromley, from the Council for Global Equality Blog

At a Congressional hearing in Washington this week, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, called on the Honduran government to take action to end impunity for murders and other human rights abuses that have been directed at the country’s LGBT community.  In his remarks, he noted that 2009 “was especially brutal for Honduras’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Attacks on the LGBT community escalated substantially starting in June with 19 known murders of prominent members of the LGBT community.”  Many of those attacks are detailed in the annual State Department Human Rights Report, which was released by Secretary Clinton last week.  See an excerpt of all LGBT human rights references in the State Department report, including the egregious abuses in Honduras.

Engel also noted that “non-lethal attacks and other violent acts against LGBT individuals were reported on an alarming scale, and additional murders have gone unreported. The human rights defenders who have documented these abuses have been threatened and the atmosphere of intimidation for members of the LGBT community remains high.”

At the hearing, Engel released a letter that he had sent, together with Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), to U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens urging him to work with the new President of Honduras to curb LGBT violence. (A copy of that letter is available here.)  Ambassador Llorens responded immediately, emphasizing his commitment to addressing LGBT violence as a top priority.  (Read the Ambassador’s response here.)

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