Rights group denounces Central America anti-LGBT violence, raps US for denying asylum

by Reuters
Wednesday, 7 October 2020 21:25 GMT

People attend the Gay Pride Parade in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

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Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are failing to stop violence against LGBT people, Human Rights Watch says

(Updates with comment from Guatemala)

MONTERREY, Mexico, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch criticized Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala for failing to stop violence against LGBT people in a new report published on Wednesday, which also denounced the United States for denying these LGBT asylum seekers safe haven.

"LGBT people in the Northern Triangle face high levels of violence that their own governments appear unable or unwilling to address," Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement with the report.

The office of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said in a statement it respected the rights of all people in the country, irrespective of their lifestyle preferences.

It added that it regretted acts against "people of sexual diversity", calling them exceptions and in no way encouraged.

The governments of Honduras and El Salvador did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"For some LGBT people in the region, seeking asylum in the United States is the only hope of safety, but the Trump administration has blocked them at every turn," Ghoshal said.

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has tightened its asylum laws. Since March, the country has closed its borders to asylum seekers and other immigrants as part of its effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The report, entitled "'Every Day I Live in Fear': Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and Obstacles to Asylum in the United States," was based on interviews with 116 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from the three countries.

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener; Additional reporting by Nelson Renteria in San Salvador, Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa and Frank Jack Daniel in Mexico City; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Richard Pullin)

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