On 29 March 2016 human rights defender and transgender woman Ms Jlo Córdoba was shot and wounded in Tegucigalpa, which followed the attempted killing of LGBTI rights defender Mr Juan José Zambrano in Ceiba, on 24 March 2016.
Jlo Córdoba is a member of Asociación LGTB Arcoíris (LGBT Rainbow Association), an organisation which works on equality and justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Honduras. Juan José Zambrano is the nephew of prominent human rights defender Ms Sandra Zambrano, director of the Asociación para una Vida Mejor de Personas Infectadas y Afectadas por el VIH/SIDA en Honduras – APUVIMEH (Association for a Better Life for People Infected with and Affected by HIV/AIDS in Honduras), of which Juan José Zambrano is also a member. APUVIMEH works with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community and those affected by HIV/AIDS in Honduras. It operates a shelter for people with HIV/AIDS and those of the LGBTI community called Casa Renacer and runs several projects including a program for prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexual infections, and a gay youth project.
On 29 March 2016, at approximately 8pm, Jlo Córdoba suffered an assassination attempt in the Central District in Tegucigalpa. An unidentified man approached her and fired at her twice. The human rights defender was was shot in the hand and in the chest. She was hospitalised because of her wounds and is now recovering.
On 24 March 2016 Juan José Zambrano was fired upon several times by a group of unidentified men in the city of Ceiba, Honduras. One of the bullets hit him in the rear, going straight through him and leaving him wounded in the genital area also. The human rights defender lost a lot of blood and was left for dead. This attempted assassination occurred some days after the human rights defender was kidnapped by a group of unidentified men in Tegucigalpa, on 20 March 2016. He was later released on the same day. While in captivity, the human rights defender was threatened and warned to cease with his human rights work. Juan José Zambrano’s family made the decision to send him to Ceiba on 24 March 2016, where they thought he would be safer, it was at this point that the human rights defender suffered the attempted assassination.
After the incident Juan José Zambrano was taken to Hospital Atlantida, Ceiba, and on 27 March 2016 he was transferred to the hospital Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social, Tegucigalpa, where he is currently receiving medical attention.
LGTBI rights defenders in Honduras have continued to conduct their human rights activities in spite of increasingly extreme levels of violence faced by them. Since 23 June 2015 six LGTBI rights defenders working in country have been killed; Juan Carlos Cruz Andara, Angy Ferreira, Violeta Rivas, Gloria Carolina Hernández Vásquez (also known as Génesis Hernández), Jorge Alberto Castillo and Paola Barraza, with several more subjected to physical assault, intimidation and threats.
The killings and violence against members of APUVIMEH have occurred in spite of precautionary measures granted to them by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 2013. Many members of Asociación LGTB Arcoíris, including its director, Mr Donny Reyes, are also beneficiaries of precautionary measures taken by the IACHR.
Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the assassination attempts against Juan José Zambrano and Jlo Córdoba, and expresses its deep concern at the climate of extreme violence facing defenders of LGTBI rights in Honduras.
Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Honduras to:
1.Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attempted killings of Juan José Zambrano and Jlo Córdoba, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2.Take all necessary measures, in consultation with the human rights defenders or their representatives, to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Juan José Zambrano, Jlo Córdoba and all members of APUVIMEH and Asociación LGTB Arcoíris;