Report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, A/HRC/22/47/Add.1, 13 December 2012: Honduras
IV. SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
64. The Special Rapporteur observed that, because of their legitimate work in upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms, certain categories of human rights defenders are at particular risk, including journalists; defenders working on economic, social and cultural issues, including defenders working on indigenous, Afro-Honduran, environmental and land rights issues; defenders working on the rights of women, children and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community (LGBTI); lawyers, prosecutors and judges; and the staff of the National Commissioner for Human Rights.
C. Women defenders and defenders working on women and children’s rights
88. The Special Rapporteur noted with concern reports that femicide had dramatically increased. She has reiterated on several occasions that women defenders are more at risk of certain forms of violence and other violations, such as prejudice, exclusion and repudiation, than their male counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that women defenders are perceived as challenging accepted sociocultural norms, traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, sexual orientation and the role and status of women in society, which often serve to normalize and perpetuate forms of violence and oppression. The Special Rapporteur strongly recommends that the role of women human rights defenders be recognized.
D. Defenders working for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community
90. The LGBTI community constitutes another group facing severe discrimination and violence in Honduras, particularly since the coup d’état. According to the information received, the persistence of acts of violence and attacks against persons belonging to the LGBTI community could correspond to patterns of hate crimes by public and private agents, including, primarily, the police and private security guards. The Special Rapporteur received information that, since June 2009, more than 34 people belonging to the LGBTI community had been killed in the country. She addressed an allegation letter in 2010 on the killing of the human rights activist Walter Tróchez, who worked to promote and protect the human rights of the LGBTI community. The Special Rapporteur regrets that the criminal investigation into his death has not yielded results.
91. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned that public officials, including high-ranking authorities, made public statements stigmatizing members of the LGBTI community. She received information indicating that human rights defenders working on the protection of the rights of LGBTI persons had been threatened and persecuted, particularly by police officers, because their work was perceived as defending immoral behaviour. In addition, she received information that members of the LGBTI community were prohibited from meeting in certain public places by police agents and threatened with arbitrary detention. As a consequence of this discrimination, members of the LGBTI community live in constant fear of attack. The Special Rapporteur calls upon the State to recognize their rights and to strengthen their actions to effectively prevent and investigate cases of attacks against relevant defenders.
V. CHALLENGES FACED BY HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
D. Stigmatization of human rights defenders
113. The Special Rapporteur is concerned at stigmatization in the media and the delegitimizing statements made by public officials against human rights defenders, and notes the particular vulnerability of women defenders and defenders working on women’s and children’s rights, those working on the rights of the LGBTI community, journalists and defenders working on social, economic and cultural rights, particularly indigenous and Afro-Hondurans and those working on land issues.
114. The Special Rapporteur calls upon the State to recognise and support the work and roles of all groups, organs and individuals involved in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as this is the first step towards the creation of a safe working environment for defenders.
Link to full text of the report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/AHRC2247Add.1_English.pdf