The Department of Justice is hoping to restructure the U.S. asylum system to bar anyone who enters the country illegally from applying for asylum, news that Vox broke recently. The proposed changes would likely prevent most people from Central America from winning asylum in the U.S. The DOJ’s changes to the asylum system, as currently described, would prove catastrophic for persecuted LGBTQ Central Americans. Central America remains dangerous for many LGBTQ people. According to a 2017 Amnesty International report, attacks on LGBTQ people are rampant in the Northern Triangle of Central America — Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The report confirms 264 murders of LGBTQ people in Honduras between 2009 and July 2017. During February 2017, three trans women were murdered within a mere 72-hour period. A fourth trans woman was brutally attacked only days later. The nongovernmental organization Transgender Europe has reported that 40 trans people were murdered in Guatemala during 2016.
Although the constitution and other laws provide that all persons are equal before the law and prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, gender, disability, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, or social status, the government did not effectively enforce these prohibitions. There was discrimination against women, persons with disabilities,... Expand
Although the constitution and other laws provide that all persons are equal before the law and prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, gender, disability, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, or social status, the government did not effectively enforce these prohibitions. There was discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, LGBT persons, and indigenous people.
Although the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, discrimination against LGBT persons was widespread, including in employment and access to health care. NGOs reported public officials, including police, engaged in violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. The LGBT community stated personnel from the PNC and FGR ridiculed them when they applied for identification cards or reported cases of violence against LGBT persons. The government responded to these abuses primarily through PDDH reports that publicized specific cases of violence and discrimination.
On February 2, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal facilitated the right of transgender persons to vote by instructing electoral employees and volunteers to allow voters to cast their ballot if their facial features, name, and signature matched their national identification cards. The electoral tribunal also accredited a group of observers from the LGBT community to oversee compliance with the guidelines by voting stations.
As of July the PDDH had investigated 16 cases of possible human rights violations committed against LGBT persons, of which eight involved alleged abuses committed by public officials, including two by municipal police officers.
A 2013 report by the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the PDDH stated that transgender women experienced violations of basic rights, including access to education, employment, health care, and justice. Only 36 of 100 transgender women cited in the UNDP study received their high school degrees, and they reported facing harassment, violence, and exclusion in schools. Only 23.9 percent of the transgender women who suffered violence reported it to the authorities, and only one of the accused perpetrators was punished.
The human rights NGO Comcavis Trans reported that unknown perpetrators killed seven transgender women and one gay man shortly after a June 25 LGBT march. They also reported four complaints of human rights abuses of LGBT prisoners, including sexual abuse and torture.
As of May the hotline for the LGBT community had received 700 calls, with 171 reporting incidents of discrimination and the remainder requesting information. According to SIS, of the 171 callers who reported incidents, 42 percent reported verbal aggression, 39 percent physical aggression, and the remaining 19 percent reported psychological and familial aggression. The security forces were the most often reported source of aggression, at 55 percent, followed by family members at 16 percent. Transwomen reported 64 percent of all discrimination incidents recorded by the hotline.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights Report
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Asociación Salvadoreña de Derechos Humanos "Entre Amigos", Global Rights, International Human Rights Clinic of the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Personas Trans submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (2010): The Violation of the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons in El SalvadorContract
Thousands of members of the LGBT community marched to celebrate International LGBT Pride Day Saturday with participants in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean taking to the streets to demand respect for their rights. In Peru, thousands marched in the capital city of Lima marking the day of pride demanding their rights be respected. In El Salvador, the marchers flooded the main streets with the colors of the rainbow, music, and slogans, joining other commemorative events on the day around the region. According to EFE, nearly 6,000 persons from San Miguel, Santa Ana, and the capital took to the streets to mark the day. In Mexico, the LGBT members demanded more representation and called on the country's next president to respect their rights, on the eve of the general elections.
El Salvador’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security on April 16 unveiled its new policy towards the LGBTI community. The country’s secretary of social inclusion and its director of sexual diversity and different LGBTI organizations attended the event. This effort began in October 2016 with a roundtable on security and the LGBTI community’s access to the justice system that included representatives of the Director General of Prisons, the National Civil Police, the Director General of Migration and Foreign Affairs, the National Academy of Public Security, the Inspector General of Public Security, halfway houses and organizations that are part of the LGBTI Salvadoran Federation.
As he stood among the mothers, children and LGBTI youths who had been walking through Mexico on their way to the U.S. border, Rodrigo Abeja found it hard to believe that President Donald Trump had deemed these people dangerous. Abeja is one of the lead organizers of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which for over 15 years has led migrants to the U.S. via caravans to help them to seek asylum in other countries.
An LGBT and intersex rights advocate in El Salvador on Monday again criticized President Trump over his administration’s immigration policy. Andrea Ayala, executive director of Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas por la Diversidad, a Salvadoran advocacy group known by the acronym ESMULES, noted to the Washington Blade during an interview at a coffee shop in the upscale San Benito neighborhood of the Salvadoran capital of San Salvador that young undocumented immigrants from El Salvador account for the third highest percentage of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program beneficiaries. DACA has allowed roughly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and obtain work permits. El Salvador is among the countries that are included in the Temporary Protected Status program, which allows people from countries that have suffered war and/or national disaster over the last two decades to receive temporary residency permits.
Estefany has many scars—some are visible on her face—lifelong reminders of the death threats and abuse she survived in Honduras. She has short, curly black hair. Her brown eyes are round and wide. She wears bright pink lipstick, and her lashes stretch all the way up to her eyebrows. “We’re made of flesh and bone. We have a heart, we have feelings. We want to be supported,” she says. Estefany is a 22-year-old transgender woman. She’s alive, nearly 2,000 miles away from her home country, after escaping violence that nearly killed her. “We are brave women. We made it here to México. There are things that happened to us in our home countries that we want to forget. The only thing that’s left is to move forward and become stronger. What we saw was brutal, but something good will come out of it.”
A group of 16 transgender and gay migrants from Central America on Thursday sought asylum in the U.S. The migrants — who are from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico — called themselves the first Trans Gay Migrant Caravan of 2017. They left Mexico City and walked and used buses and other forms of transportation to travel to Nogales, Mexico, which is on the Arizona-Mexico border. The Nogales International, a newspaper that is based in Nogales, Ariz., reported the migrants arrived in Nogales, Mexico, on July 25.
A caravan of 16 LGBTQI migrants, along with a handful of allies, set out from the Mexican border town of Nogales on Thursday morning, heading to the U.S. border. Upon arriving, the group disembarked, unfurled a rainbow banner declaring, in Spanish, that the “First Trans Gay Migrant Caravan” had arrived. Allies looked on as the migrants surrendered themselves to border officials, where they are currently being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The 16 members of the caravan met in Mexico, many of them arriving by foot after fleeing violence and discrimination in their home countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
An uptick in deadly violence against transgender women in El Salvador prompted the United Nations on Friday to call for an investigation into crimes against sexual minorities in the conservative Central American country. So far this year, seven transgender women have been killed in El Salvador, according to the Geneva-based Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Local LGBT organizations put the death toll at 17 through the first four months of the year.
The vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in El Salvador is of deep concern. Since the beginning of 2017, at least seven transgender people have been murdered in El Salvador. Most recently, at the end of April, a prominent human rights defender working on the rights of LGBTI people, Karla Avelar was reportedly visited at her home in San Salvador by three men, who threatened her and demanded money from her within three days. Following the visit, Ms. Avelar was forced to flee her home – yet again. Over the past two years, she has been forced to move six times for security reasons. Ms. Avelar, who herself is transgender, has faced violence and intimidation numerous times over decades. She survived two attempts on her life, in 1992 and 1997, when she was shot multiple times and seriously wounded.
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