Media Relations Associate
Washington, D.C. (November 9, 2020)—Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Red Lésbica Cattrachas are representing the family of Vicky Hernández in a case against the government of Honduras. Vicky was a transgender woman who was shot and killed by police during the country’s coup d’état in June 2009. This is the first case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights involving the extrajudicial killing of a trans woman and has the potential to set a precedent for trans rights throughout Latin America where countless people, particularly trans women, have been targeted, discriminated, and killed for their gender identity.
This trial is the culmination of more than seven years of litigation work on behalf of Vicky and her family. If successful, it will not only provide them with the long overdue justice they deserve but could prompt investigations of other state-sanctioned violence against the LGBTQ community during the Honduran coup. The case could also allow the Inter-American Court to identify structural problems that are at the root of the violence and discrimination LGBTQ people face in Honduras and pressure the government to adopt public policies that better protect all its citizens.
Much is at stake: In the decade since Vicky’s death, there’s been a surge in violent attacks against the LGBTQ community in Honduras with at least 370 murders of LGBTQ people; of those, 117 were trans women.
“For any family who has suffered an incredible loss like Vicky’s, we would hope for a thorough investigation, we would hope for proper accountability, we would hope for justice. But over the past decade Vicky’s family has been denied all of these things simply because of her trans identity,” said Angelita Baeyens, vice president of international advocacy and litigation for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “This crucial turning point in Vicky’s case could not only bring her family a measure of justice they well deserve but importantly extend protections to all trans women in Honduras and throughout the region. We can’t think of a more fitting way to honor Vicky’s life and legacy, one spent defending the rights of others until the very end.”
“This case represents an opportunity to provide collective justice. Justice for Vicky and her family, but also for the 370 LGBTQ people that have been killed in Honduras since her murder,” said Indyra Mendoza, founder of Red Lésbica Cattrachas. “Honduras will finally have to take measures to truly guarantee the rights of LGBTQ people in the country.”
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that has worked to realize Robert F. Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world since 1968. In partnership with local activists, we advocate for key human rights issues—championing changemakers and pursuing strategic litigation at home and around the world. And to ensure change that lasts, we foster a social-good approach to business and investment and educate millions of students about human rights and social justice.
Red Lésbica Cattrachas
Founded in 2000, Cattrachas is a collective of psychologists, advocates, academics, media communicators, graduate students, and activists whose main goal is to advance and protect the human rights of LGBTQI people in Honduras through rigorous documentation of cases of violence against LGBTQI people, national and international advocacy at the policy level, and the creation and use of networks at local, regional, and international levels.