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LGBT migrants, what are they fleeing?

Help and assistance is being provided by The Center and the Imperial Court de San Diego
Photo credit:
Nicole Murray Ramirez

As hundreds of Central American migrants head into Tijuana after traveling 1,200 miles mostly on foot, San Diego offers what it can to help them. But what exactly are they fleeing from? 

The caravans are originating in areas in and around Honduras which is legally bound to the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights which is supposed to protect the rights of people and their freedoms in the Americas. However, violence by both inner city gangs and law enforcement fly under the radar or are ignored altogether; Honduras has one of the world's largest homicide rates.

The violence is mostly due to drug trafficking and extortion, gangs are in control of entire neighborhoods by way of collusion with security forces and even police. These forces are powerful and intimidate entire communities. 

“In the past years, there have been 3,000 cases of femicide,” said Joaquin Mejia, a human rights attorney and researcher, back in 2017. “Only 29 have been investigated and only one led to a conviction,” he said. “This high level of impunity is seen over and over again in the murders of lawyers and journalists.”

The LGBT community has become one of the biggest targets of these killings since 2013. Even though there are laws in place to protect the citizens, those in charge of upholding them are often accused of murder themselves. 

In a story from Reuters in November 2017, they reported that LGBT people in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are fleeing to escape “epidemic levels of violence” by gangs and law enforcement. 

Same-sex marriage was banned in Honduras since 2005, but in 2018  IACHR said it was a human right and should be upheld by way of the American Convention on Human Rights. Still, with a seemingly corrupt law enforcement system there is nothing anyone can do but to flee even though they are supposed to be legally protected. 

This past Sunday the first group of Central American LGBT men and women, about 80, arrived in Tijuana in hopes of gaining political asylum. 

The San Diego LGBT Community Center and the Imperial Court de San Diego has raised money and offered support for these displaced immigrants.

Working with RAICES Texas, they were able to provide food, supplies, and other support to the group.

"They are in good spirits, and most plan to seek asylum in the United States in the next several weeks," said The Center in a Facebook post.

More are expected to arrive in the coming weeks. There has been an increase in border patrols including adding razor wire to the border fence.