Three transsexuals have been murdered in separate incidents in the Central American country of Honduras in the space of two weeks, reports the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

In two of the incidents, the victims were set on fire either before or after their deaths. IGLHRC, together with the Honduran LGBTI organisation Red Cattrachas, has called for an immediate investigation into the murders and demanded state action to prevent future killings on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

On December 22, 2010 in Comayagüela, a 23-year-old named Lorenza (legal name: Luis) Alexis Alvarado Hernández was found dead, her body visibly beaten and burned. Bloody stones near her corpse indicate that the bruises covering her body were caused by stoning.

Her body was set on fire. Used condoms found nearby have led to the suspicion that she may also have been raped. After her death, the assailants threw her body into a ditch. News reports indicate that severe injuries to her face rendered her corpse virtually unrecognisable.

The same day, another transsexual, Lady Oscar (legal name: Oscar) Martinez Salgado, age 45, was found burned to death in her home in Barrio El Rincón of Tegucigalpa. Her body showed multiple stab wounds. Neighbours report witnessing two suspicious individuals running from her house as the fire ignited.

Less than two weeks later, on January 2, 2011, a young transsexual known only as Cheo was found murdered on the main street of Colonia Alameda in Tegucigalpa. Her body was left without legal documentation. She appears to have died from a severe stab wound to her chest.

“This means that in the past year and a half, there have been a total of 31 murders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Honduras,” said IGLHRC.

“More deaths of LGBT people have likely gone unreported. At least one of those killed, Walter Trochez, was a prominent human rights defender. In the majority of the cases, there have been no investigations or prosecutions of the crimes.”

In response to pressure from local human rights activists, the Honduran Minister of Human Rights and the Tegucigalpa Chief of Homicide have assigned two investigators to these murders. However, no one has yet been charged in the recent deaths. According to IGLHRC there is little evidence that the investigations are underway.

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