May 29, 2009

V. Specific Recommendations

To the Government of Honduras

On Law Enforcement

  • Revise the Law on Police and Social Affairs to eliminate ill-defined references to “morality” as well as other vague language that can be used to justify the discriminatory targeting of transgender people. Law enforcement officials should not use the Law on Police and Social Affairs as a justification to arrest transgender people who do legally permitted sex work.
  • Publicly condemn ill-treatment of transgender people by police and other state agents, as well as extortion, unlawful use of force, and other abuses.
  • Conduct independent, impartial, and effective investigations into acts of extortion and unlawful use of force against transgender people by Honduran law enforcement officials. Initiate administrative and criminal investigations against officials found to have engaged in or condoned violence against or extortion of transgender people.
  • Issue a written directive from the Ministry of Security to all law enforcement institutions reaffirming that violence, abuse, and discrimination based on gender identity or expression, as well as sexual orientation, will not be tolerated and will be sanctioned.
  • Improve the registration of detainees at police stations to avoid ill-treatment of those detained, including by ensuring that transgender people can be registered under either their chosen or their legal names. 
  • Guarantee that, whenever detained, transgender people are placed in facilities appropriate to their needs, including in police lockups. Cases should be assessed on an individual basis, with criteria developed in consultation with representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil society actors, rather than through a blanket policy.
  • Ensure respect for and protection of the human rights of detained transgender people, including their right to access to a lawyer, their right to a phone call, and protection against cruel and inhumane treatment and freedom from discrimination and violence.
  • Provide regular training to law enforcement officials, in particular to the police, the National Department of Criminal Investigation, and all staff of the Office of the Attorney General, on human rights issues in general and in particular on issues of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
  • Guarantee due process for transgender people as well as lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, and ensure that their treatment by the police does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
  • Establish protocols for the treatment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people by the police based on international human rights standards.
  • Conduct effective and prompt investigations into all reports of violence against transgender people.

On Gender Identity and Expression

  • Reform the civil law code and the Law on People’s National Registry to institute simple, non-surgically based procedures allowing transgender people to change their identity card legally to reflect their chosen name and lived gender.

On Nondiscrimination and Equality

  • Adopt a comprehensive law on non-discrimination based on international human rights standards, including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, that would enhance and specify the protections of article 321 of the Penal Code, and that would create an independent body to promote non-discrimination and equality and monitor compliance with this law by public and private actors.
  • Develop public education programs using the media, public events, and school curricula to address the harmful effects of stereotyped gender roles and the importance of non-discrimination based on gender, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation.

To the International Donor Community

  • Ensure that all development programs that receive financial support address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of transgender and lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities, and promote the protection of people based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation against police and other abuse.

To the United Nations

  • Request that the Panama Regional Office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights monitor the human rights situation in Honduras, including state and non-state violence and other abuses based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

To Honduran Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

  • Co-operate with transgender and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people’s organizations in monitoring and mainstreaming LGBT issues to ensure full respect for their human rights.
  • Include issues of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation in shadow reports to the United Nations.