Transgender activist murdered in Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA (HPD) — A Honduran transgender activist who had spent more than two decades in the United States was buried Thursday after unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot her to death.

Human rights organizations in Honduras pointed out that the murder of Melissa Núñez, 42, was another sign of how dangerous life is in the Central American country for members of the LGTBQ community.

“We are concerned that violence continues to grow in Honduras,” Merlin Eguigure, coordinator of the Visitación Padilla Women’s Movement for Peace, an NGO, told The Associated Press. “The government should declare an emergency regarding this issue.”

Danny Reyes, a representative of the Rainbow Movement of the LGBT community, agreed. “(…) they continue to assassinate us, they continue to violate our rights.”

Núñez was murdered on Tuesday night in the municipality of Morocélí, El Paraíso, in eastern Honduras. Her body was removed by her relatives early Wednesday morning from the Forensic Medicine morgue in Tegucigalpa.

The police spokesman in that area, Miguel Carranza, told the HPD that Núñez was killed by several shots after leaving two of her friends at her house.

“When she was leaving the house talking on her cell phone, she was intercepted by two men on a motorcycle who shot her several times,” according to the neighbors, Carranza explained. He added that the motive for the event would have been due to personal enmities.

Glenda de Jesús Núñez, sister of the murdered woman, told the HPD that she went to live in the United States 25 years ago and that she came several times to visit them. In November 2021 she returned to Honduras and since then she has remained in the country waiting for her residence papers to come out, she added.

He remembered her as an activist who defended the rights of members of the LGTBQ community in the United States. “We used to talk about family things, he was very reserved about his community issues. We accepted and loved her as she was,” she added.

The coordinator of the LGTB organization Kukulcan, Danny Montesinos, told the HPD that through a monitoring system of its members who emigrate to other countries, they ask them why they emigrate.

“95% tell us that it is because of the high levels of violence and discrimination, people who have suffered attacks on their lives, who have been attacked and who have been fired from their jobs for gender expression, that is, their visibility before sexual orientation,” he added.

The person in charge in the department of El Paraíso of the National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH), Willian Yanez, declared that the situation experienced against members of the LGTBQ community is worrying. He promised that they will join the investigations of the Public Ministry so that Núñez’s crime does not go unpunished.

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