The report also denounces the United States for denying LGBTQ asylum seekers safe haven.

Por Alma Sacasa
Octubre 12, 2020
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Last Wednesday, the organization Human Rights Watch released a report on the mistreatment of the LGBTQ community in the Central American countries Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The report denounced these countries for failing to stop violence against LGBTQ citizens; it also denounced the United States for denying these asylum seekers safe haven. Since March, the U.S. has closed its borders to asylum seekers and immigrants as part of its effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"LGBT people in the Northern Triangle face high levels of violence that their own governments appear unable or unwilling to address," Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBTQ rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "For some LGBT people in the region, seeking asylum in the United States is the only hope of safety, but the Trump administration has blocked them at every turn."

The report, which is titled "'Every Day I Live in Fear': Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and Obstacles to Asylum in the United States," was based on interviews with 116 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from those Central American countries.

Both Honduras and El Salvador have passed hate crime legislation in the last 10 years, but neither country has convicted anyone on hate crime charges. In July of this year, a court in El Salvador convicted three police officers of murdering Camila Díaz, a trans woman who had been deported in 2018 after attempting to seek protection in the United States, but a judge dismissed the hate crimes charges against them. According to the HRW report, none of the three countries has comprehensive civil law protections against discrimination.

The office of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said in a statement that the government respects the rights of all people in the country, regardless of their lifestyle preferences. They also added that it regretted acts against "people of sexual diversity," calling those events "exceptions" that were no way in encouraged by the system.