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 Three LGBTQ+ Guatemalans Were Killed in Attacks in a Single Week

 Three LGBTQ+ Guatemalans Were Killed in Attacks in a Single Week

Guatemala
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Two trans women and one gay man were killed in separate attacks. Human Rights Watch is concerned about the safety of LGBTQ+ folks there.

Human Rights Watch has urged Guatemala's authorities to swiftly investigate the killings of three LGBTQ+ people. The human rights organization said, in a release, that assailants had killed two trans women and one gay man in separate attacks throughout one week earlier this month.

The killings bring the number of LGBTQ+ people killed this year in the country to 13, according to civil society groups. In 2020, officials reported that number totaled 19.

In the U.S. at least 29 trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming people have been killed by violence.

"Guatemala provides LGBT people with virtually no protections," HRW stated in its release.

"To protect LGBT people and prevent 2021 from becoming one of the deadliest years for gender and sexual minorities in Guatemala, authorities need to pursue accountability for these killings," LGBTQ+ rights researcher at HRW Cristian Gonzalez said in the release. "Investigations by the Attorney General's Office should prioritize establishing whether the victims were targeted on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity or their work defending LGBT rights."

Both trans women were involved with the organization OTRANS Queens of the Night (OTRANS Reinas de la Noche). The group advocates for trans women along with issues related to sexual health, sex work and legal gender recognition. Andrea Gonzalez served the group as a legal representative and one of its leaders. Before her killing, Gonzalez had told authorities she had been receiving death threats.

Governments and international bodies have condemned the killing including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala along with other government and international bodies condemned the killing.

OTRANS member, Cecy Caricia Ixpata, died on Jun 9 after an attack by two unidentified people. HRW reported that she too had contacted the Attorney General's Office to report transphobic threats.

On June 14, a gay man was shot in Morales, according to an organization cited by HRW.

In March, the group released its report on the situation for LGBTQ+ people in the country. The group interviewed over 50 survivors of anti-LGBTQ+ violence. In its findings, HRW wrote, "the government is failing to adequately protect LGBT people against such illegal acts."

The killings in Guatemala took place a week after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited the country and told Guatemalans to not go to the U.S. But many LGBTQ+ Guatemalans attempt to seek asylum in the U.S. after facing violence in their communities.

"Guatemala should take urgent and comprehensive steps to stop the bloodshed of its embattled LGBT communities," Gonzalez said. "Meanwhile, the United States should affirm that it will not turn its back on LGBT Guatemalans fleeing persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity."

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