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News ::
Donations Needed to Save Life of Threatened Honduran Activist (english)
24 Sep 2003
The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) is asking for help to save the life of a Honduran activist who's pressed the government over an epidemic of gay/transgender murders there, but is now in fear for her life after refusing to pull testimony.
china_suarez.jpg
The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) is asking for help to save the life of a Honduran activist who's pressed the government over an epidemic of gay/transgender murders there, but is now in fear for her life after refusing to pull testimony.
For Immediate Release: Dated September 23, 2003
From: The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC)
Contacts: Vanessa Edwards Foster, Robyn Walters
NTAC Contact Email: media (at) ntac.org
LLEGO Contact Email: lmelendez (at) llego.org
Amnesty Intl. Central American Dir.: dsoto (at) indiana.edu
Contact Phone: 832-483-9901, 360-437-4091
Website: https://secure.ga3.org/02/suarez
http://www.ntac.org
http://www.llego.org
http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=10318

Donations Needed To Save Life of Threatened Honduran Transgender Activist

The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) is issuing a call to the international community to come to the aid of a transgender activist in Honduras. China (born Elkyn) Suárez Mejía has been a stalwart in challenging the Honduran government and local authorities in San Pedro de Sula to investigate the rash of murders among Honduras' GLBT population.

It began with the murder of 19-year old Ericka (born Erick) Yáñez, by two policemen who had been in the area "looking for the services of a prostitute," while in their police vehicle. Upon learning Yáñez was not a biological female, they argued and then shot her. Suárez filed complaints against the officers, who were arrested, then later released.

Since the jailed officers' release, Suárez was visited by one of the accused, Jairo Antonio Mejía, and pressured to pull her complaint, to which she refused. Mejía then threatened that if the complaint weren't pulled in 24 hours, Suárez would "not see another day."

Amnesty International (AI) has issued an urgent appeal to contact Honduran authorities and petition them to provide witness protection for Suárez. In the meantime, China Suárez is in hiding, and in dire need of relocating to another country.

The Latino/a Lesbian Gay Organization (LLEGÓ) has established a fund to provide safe passage for China Suárez to another country. The website address for online donations is: https://secure.ga3.org/02/suarez

Alternately, checks or money orders may be sent to: LLEGÓ, 1420 K Street Northwest, Suite 400,Washington, DC 20005. Please note on the check or money order to direct the monies to the China / Elkyn Suárez Mejía fund.

"China Suárez is taking a principled stand for justice for the lives of many GLBT Hondurans," said NTAC Chair, Vanessa Edwards Foster. "For this, she could end up paying the ultimate price - with her life." No less than 10 transgendered murder victims have been found in San Pedro Sula, Honduras in June, July and August.

"It is simply abhorrent that the Honduran authorities have done so little to protect LGBT citizens from serious human rights abuses or to investigate such abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable," explained Michael Heflin, Director of Amnesty International USA's (AIUSA) OUTfront program.

"Anti-transgender violence is a worldwide problem," said Gwen Smith, of the Remembering Our Dead project. "Such murders are [often] done at the hands of the police and paramilitary, with the assumed consent of the government. No matter how bad it can be in the United States, at least we are not facing such clear-cut genocide."

"Appropriate action must be taken on behalf of Elkyn Suárez Mejía, whose testimony will be vital," to achieving justice in Yáñez's death, added Heflin of AI-USA. "[It's] a first step in correcting the grave injustices against Honduras' LGBT population."

Concluded Foster of NTAC; "we encourage the transgender community to step up and save the life of someone working to save others."

- 30 -

Founded in 1999, NTAC - the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition - is a §501(c)(4) civil rights organization working to establish and maintain the right of all transgendered, intersexed, and gender-variant people to live and work without fear of violence or discrimination.
See also:
https://secure.ga3.org/02/suarez
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