(Washington D.C. – Tegucigalpa, 17th of May 2017, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia)
Today, on the 2017 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Red Lésbica Cattrachas have filed their arguments on the merits before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights in a transfemicide case against Honduras for failing to prevent, investigate, and prosecute the execution of Vicky Hernández, a young transgender woman who was killed in June 2009 for expressing her gender identity. the representing organizations are hopeful that this landmark case will spur Honduras and governments across the Americas to protect the human rights of transgender women, including the freedom to express their gender identity and the right to live lives free from violence.
At the time of her death, Vicky Hernández was a young transgender woman and known activist for the human rights of the transgender community in Honduras. Honduran security forces shot Vicky in the head the night of the 28th to the 29th of June 2009 during a curfew imposed soon after a coup d’etat of June 2009. Eight years on and despite evidence that Vicky was murdered by agents of the government, Honduras has failed to investigate Vicky’s death and failed to prosecute those responsible. As a beloved daughter and sister, Vicky’s family’s questions remain unanswered and their pleas for justice ignored.
Vicky’s murder occurred in a known context of worsening violence against the LGBTI community in Honduras, and against transgender women especially. The 2009 coup d’état marked a dramatic increase in the number of transphobic crimes, linked to the militarization of the streets during the multiple curfews that followed the coup and the prevalence of transphobic hate speech in Honduran society.
Within this context of systematic discrimination and violence against the transgender community in Honduras, transgender women are especially vulnerable to violence as the target of both transphobia and misogyny. Despite the staggering number of transfemicides in Honduras, impunity remains rampant, including because crimes against transgender women are never prosecuted as transphobic hate crimes. By failing to recognize that crimes against transgender women are crimes motivated by both misogyny and transphobia, Honduras not only continues to make transphobic violence invisible, it also denies transgender women their gender identity.
To fully recognize Vicky Hernández’s identity as a transgender woman and highlight the transphobic nature of her murder, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Cattrachas have argued that the failure by Honduras to prevent, investigate, and prosecute her murder constitutes a violation of her human rights, including her freedom to express her gender identity.