PBI-Canada observes the 20th anniversary Transgender Day of Remembrance
Peace Brigades International-Canada affirms that trans rights are human rights.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an internationally recognized annual observance that has been held on November 20th since 1999. It celebrates and honours the lives of trans, non-binary and two-spirit people whose lives have been lost due to acts of anti-transgender violence.
This year, we take particular note of the murder of trans rights defender Bessy Ferrera who was murdered on July 8 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Bessy worked with the Asociación Arcoiris (Rainbow Association), which has been accompanied by the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project since July 2015.
The Yogyakarta Principles
PBI accompanies human rights defenders around the world, including those engaged in struggles related to the right to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Yogyakarta Principles were unanimously adopted in 2006 by a group of human rights experts and then updated in 2017. Those principles affirm that “sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity and must not be the basis for discrimination or abuse.”
Principle 27 calls on all states to, “Ensure the protection of human rights defenders, working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, against any violence, threat, retaliation, de facto or de jure discrimination, pressure, or any other arbitrary action perpetrated by the State, or by non-State actors, in response to their human rights activities.”
PBI has undertaken that work in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.
On May 17, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project accompanied the advocacy group LGBT Arcoiris (Rainbow Association) at the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia march in Tegucigalpa.
Between 2009 and mid-2018, 296 members of the LGBTQI+ community in Honduras were murdered. Honduras also had the highest per capita number of transgender murders in the world between 2008 and 2014, according to a report by Transgender Europe.
From June 2015 to March 2016, six members of Arcoíris were killed. Other Arcoíris activists have survived assassination attempts. Many others have faced intimidation, harassment and physical attacks.
Arcoíris coordinator Donny Reyes says, “The biggest problem that we face is the violence of the state security forces towards the LGBT+ community: the armed forces, the police, the criminal investigation police, military police, municipal police.”
Dina Meza, an independent investigative reporter who is also accompanied by PBI-Honduras because of the risks she faces, says that reporters who cover violence against the LGBTQI+ community have been physically assaulted by security forces, expelled from public events, and have been the subject of smear campaigns.
On July 6, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project accompanied the XII Pride March in the city of Chihuahua.
In October 2018, El Universal reported that Mexico has the second highest number of murders of transgender and transsexual people in the world every year.
PBI-Mexico has highlighted that according to a survey conducted by the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) and the State Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), the state of Chihuahua has the second highest number of homicides against members of the LGBTQI+ community.
And on July 20, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project observed the XIX Parade of Sexual Diversity and Gender Identity in Guatemala City.
El Periodico has reported, “Between January and June 2019, the murders of 28 gays, lesbians and trans were reported. This figure doubled compared to the cases recorded last year, according to a report by the Organizing Committee of the Parade.”
And PubliNews has reported, “There is no moment to mark the beginning of the LGBTIQ movement in Guatemala, but it is recognized that during the armed conflict, which lasted 36 years, the police and military authorities committed thousands of harassments against people who identified themselves as diverse.”