Travel Warnings as Honduras Murder of Gay Couple Motivated by Homophobia

Sarmiento from FB Page

According to VICE: An attack in Honduras reported to have been motivated by homophobia has left a Canadian man and his partner dead. Gerard Argiud, 80, described as a Canadian national, and his partner, a 42-year-old Honduran named Jorge Sarmiento, were attacked by multiple people on Friday, May 12 in the home they shared in Tela, Atlántida, Honduras, according to local media.

Sarmiento has been referred to as a member of the local LGBT community, reportedly being the previous owner of a gay bar that had shut down recently in the area. According to news reports, Sarmiento died on the scene from being shot, while Canadian Argiud was taken to a nearby hospital after suffering multiple injuries. Argiud died within hours following the attack. Honduran media outlet La Tribuna claims that “strangers” attacked the couple, stabbing and shooting at them.

NewNowNext reports:  Gerard Argiud, 80, lived in the northern city of Tela with his partner, Jorge Sarmiento (above). The men were shot and stabbed by a group of assailants who invaded their home. Local media is reporting the suspects, who are still at large, attacked the couple because of their sexual orientation.

Sarmiento, 40, was reportedly a prominent LGBT activist.

“Reports indicate the couple were attacked by several people because of their sexual orientation and position as prominent members of the LGBT community,” Atlantis Travel Group, which specializes in executive travel, stated in a warning to members. “LGBT travelers should avoid drawing attention to their sexuality. Members should remain vigilant to their surroundings at all times and adopt stringent precautions because of the high rates of violent and opportunistic crime.”

Same-sex activity is legal in Honduras, but crimes against LGBT people often go unreported or un-investigated. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, even if there is an investigation perpetrators are often unpunished.

The Spec reports:  The murders prompted a warning from the Atlantis Travel Group, an international association which specializes in executive travel.

“Reports indicate the couple were attacked by several people because of their sexual orientation and position as prominent members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community,” the warning states.

“Although same-sex activity is legal in Honduras, LGBT travellers should avoid drawing attention to their sexuality,” the warning continues. “Members should remain vigilant to their surroundings at all times and adopt stringent precautions because of the high rates of violent and opportunistic crime.”

LGBT murders in Honduras are less likely to be punished than other killings, according to a report by an Inter-American Commission on human rights.

The Washington Blade noted that prominent LGBT activist Rene Martinez was murdered in Honduras last June. Martinez was a member of the ruling National Party and president of Comunidad Gay Sampedrana, an LGBT advocacy group.

Frommer’s and Lonely Planet travel guides both warn gay travelers about conditions in Honduras, as did the McClatchy news network.

CNN warned in 2011 that “hate crimes from beatings to murders are rising” in Honduras, according to local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups.

From Melanie Nathan at African HRC:

To Americans, please always check USA State Department Warnings before travel to any country. However I further advise that one check the travel warnings of other countries such as UK and Australia as I have no faith in a Trump Administration State department giving a damn about LGBT Americans.

Melanie Nathan: Commissionermnathan@gmail.com
@MelanieNathan1


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