In a landmark victory for LGBTQ+ rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that Honduras is responsible for the death of Vicky Hernandez, a trans woman who was murdered in 2009.
The court has ordered Honduras to pay reparations in the sum of $30,000 to her family. It has also ruled that the country must enforce measures that protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination and violence, the BBC reports.
Hernandez, who was a sex-worker and trans activist, was found shot to death in the northern city of San Pedro Sula during the country’s 2009 military coup. Her case, which was argued before the Court last November, marks the first time that Honduras has been held responsible for the murder of a trans woman.
Representatives for Hernandez and her family, including the organization, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Honduran LGBTQ+ advocacy group Red Lesbica Cattrachas — which GO Magazine profiled earlier this year — argued that Honduras has violated Hernandez’s right to life by failing to adequately investigate her death. They also argued that Hernandez, whose death marked a surge in violence against LGBQT+ persons, was likely killed by military forces who were in control of the streets during the coup.
The ruling comes on the 12th anniversary of Hernandez’s death. For advocates, the next step in the process is ensuring that the Honduran government complies to the Court’s ruling.
“Vicky’s case is emblematic of the broader violence that the LGBT population in Honduras suffer, and have suffered, for more than a decade,” says human rights lawyer Angelita Baeyens in a video posted on Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Twitter feed. “The authorities did not do any effort to confirm or exclude the potential involvement of security forces even though the crime happened in the middle of a curfew when the public forces had total control of the streets.”
For Indyra Mendoza, co-founder of Red Lesbica Cattrachas and GO Woman We Love 2021, the ruling represents a broader victory for LGBTQ+ rights.
“This is the opening for them to see that no struggle is exclusive to one group of people,” Mendoza told the Washington Blade. “If the amnesty given in the coup d’état is eliminated, it would be a great LGTBI contribution to this country where human rights of journalists, lawyers, defenders of indigenous territories, Garifunas and villagers are violated.”