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.
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
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.
Sexual and gender-based violence by gangs, particularly against girls, has been a major driver of Central American youths from the region, a group that protects immigrant children reported Thursday. Gang members are using rape, kidnapping, torture, sexual violence and other crimes, predominantly against women and girls and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, as a main tactic to expand their control of territory in Central America, according to Kids In Need of Defense (KIND).
SAN JUAN TALPA, El Salvador, March 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every time the neighbourhood dogs bark at night, Teresa, a 44-year-old transgender woman in El Salvador, wakes up in a panic. "I think that someone is coming to kill me," said Teresa, a shopkeeper in the coastal town of San Juan Talpa. "I live in constant fear." Three transgender people were killed in San Juan Talpa in February alone, police say, spreading fear through members of El Salvador's LGBTI community. The spate of murders puts a spotlight on the violence El Salvador's LGBTI community faces, a problem rights activists blame on powerful street gangs and entrenched social prejudices.
“We live with the uncertainty,” said Verónica López, a trans woman and board president of ASTRANS, one of El Salvador’s leading trans rights organizations. “We do not know if we will come back home, or come to work the next day. You get accustomed to it. We have little choice. We know if we do something that is not liked we can be killed.”
The United States State Department has indicated it is keeping an eye on developments in El Salvador, where three transgender women were recently murdered. According to the Washington Blade, the State Department "supports" the search for the perpetrators. "We understand that El Salvador's National Civilian Police (PNC) and the Attorney General's office are fully engaged in this case, and other human rights entities are closely monitoring the developments," said the unidentified State Department spokesperson. "The United States supports the search for those responsible in all cases of crime and violence, including those where human rights may have been violated."
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