IOM Organizes Workshops on LGBTI Migration in Central America

Gender and Migration

Costa Rica - Today, May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), IOM is organizing two workshops in Tapachula, Mexico, on the border with Guatemala, to train public servants and members of civil society organizations on protection of the rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) migrants and refugees.

The LGBTI migrant community in Central America is particularly vulnerable. Discrimination and persecution on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are some of the main push factors behind their migration, especially in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

LGBTI people, particularly transwomen, are more likely to becoming victims of violence at the hands of organized crime and other illegal armed groups.

In the Americas between January 2013 and March 2014, 770 recorded acts of violence were committed against LGBTI individuals, which resulted in 594 deaths (CIDH, 2015).

In some countries, identifying as a member of the LGBTI community is a crime punishable by imprisonment. High levels of discrimination and abuse have forced LGBTI people to migrate in search of better, safer living conditions free of discrimination.

LGBTI populations face high-risk situations throughout their migratory route in which they are susceptible to being sexually harassed and abused, extorted and illegally detained. In many cases, they even lack access to shelters that respect their needs and protect their rights.

The workshops will be carried out through IOM’s Regional Program to Strengthen Capacities to Protect and Assist Vulnerable Migrants in Mesoamerica, which has been implemented since 2010 with support from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

The training module: Migration and the LGBTI Community (in Spanish), was also developed through the Regional Program, to sensitize and train public servants, shelter workers, migration-related NGOs, and LGBTI advocates on how to best address persecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The first workshop will be attended by government officials, civil society leaders, and shelter representatives from the Mesoamerica region. The second workshop will include representatives of LGBTI organizations from Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Bonnie at IOM Costa Rica, Email: - Tel. +506. 2212-5321.