Honduras has been named the ‘most dangerous country in Central America for members of the gay and lesbian community’. Although “discrimination with hatred or contempt on the basis of sex, gender, religion, national origin, belonging to indigenous and Afrodescendant groups, sexual orientation or gender identity” has been illegal in the country since 2013, the community continue to frequently suffer attacks, stigmatisation and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity.
PBI has been accompanying activists from Arcoíris LGTB Association of Honduras since 2015, and has witnessed first-hand the risks and intimidation that their community suffer.
Founded in 2003, Arcoíris is committed to empowering and informing the LGBTI community from Comayagüela and Tegucigalpa on issues of holistic health, the defence and promotion of human rights related to sexual diversity, advocacy, research and outreach. They also work with the wider population, raising awareness in order to challenge stigmatisation and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Arcoíris is part of the Committee on Sexual Diversity and the Honduras UPR Platform and Donny Reyes, coordinator of the Association, was elected by representatives of civil society to join the National Council for the Protection of Human Rights as a deputy member.
Members of the Association have been the victims of surveillance, harassment, detentions, assaults, robberies and thefts, threats, sexual violence and even murder; attacks which aim to destabilise the organization. Despite the risks they face, Arcoíris has been committed to empowering, informing and challenging discrimination and stigmatisation against the LGBTI+ community in Honduras.
As coordinator Donny Reyes told us at an interview in Honduras in early January, the dangers the LGBTI+ community face are very real:
"The biggest problem that we face is the violence of the state security forces towards the LGBT+ community: the armed forces, the police, the criminal investigation police, military police, municipal police. The research studies that Arcoiris and other organizations have done reflect the same pattern - more than 60% of hate crimes have been committed against us by those forces who should be guaranteeing our safety."
Asociación LGTB Arcoiris de Honduras continue to operate in spite of the extreme levels of violence and harassment they are subjected to, and the fact they have lost six of their former coordinators as a result of hate crime and constant intimidation against the organisation and its workers. PBI are highlighting the work of Arcoíris and their members, to show their determination and dedication, demonstrating their hope and resilience in the face of persecution. PBI have worked with the filmmaker Manu Valcare to produce a short profile of two Arcoíris members, Nallely and Jio.
PBI is committed to continuing our support for LGBTI+ communities in some of the most dangerous countries around the world. Now more than ever, we need you to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with human rights defenders and organisations like Arcoíris.