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Standing with our Latin American Sisters

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Author: Andrea Fernández Aponte

     staff in red
   The women of LAWG


Mothers. Daughters. Workers. Fighters. Dreamers. Human beings.
 

Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we stand in solidarity with women and girls across Latin America whose lives could be harshly affected by reckless U.S. policies. 


Central America

In the Northern Triangle countries—Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—women and girls endure extremely high rates of domestic and sexual violence. Yet, less than 10 percent of cases of gender-based violence result in convictions. Women and girls who flee their countries are also frequently subjected to violence along the way in Mexico, including abuse by smugglers, traffickers, authorities, and other migrants.

President’s Trump latest executive order shuts out women and girls seeking refuge as it freezes refugee admissions and then lowers the number of refugees admitted worldwide. And this week, DHS Secretary Kelly said he was considering separating mothers and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, breaking up families and adding to their psychological trauma. This is against our laws and moral values.

ACT NOW: Urge Congress to stand for compassionate immigration and refugee policies and to END unjust and unreasonable executive orders. Sign and share our petition TODAY!>>>

Colombia

Women and girls have suffered mightily in Colombia’s conflict, being forced to flee their homes, enduring sexual violence, losing their lives, or mourning the murder or disappearance of a loved one. A return to war, or the incomplete implementation of peace, would place hundreds of thousands of women and girls in jeopardy. 

We urge the Trump Administration to pledge to fully support the implementation of the peace accords diplomatically and financially, and to promote the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the remaining guerrilla group, the ELN.

Human Rights Defenders

Last week, we commemorated the anniversary of the murder of beloved land and indigenous rights activist, Berta Cáceres. Like her, hundreds of human rights activists across the region, many of them women, have been slain for standing up for their communities over the years. Unfortunately, 2017 has not been any different thus far. According to a U.N. report, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras are among the top ten most dangerous countries for environmental and human rights defenders in the world.

If the U.S. government heavily finances these countries’ armed forces and bankrolls development projects that encroach on rural communities’ lands, these defenders lives will continue to be in jeopardy. We demand our government to use our tax dollars to protect those working for justice abroad, not further endanger them.

LGBTQI Women

In many countries in Latin America, LGBTQI community members are still targets of gender-based violence by families, gangs, and authorities. Civil society organizations in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras report that LGBTQI people are at high risk for violence and extortion by gangs and organized criminal groups, hate crimes, and abuse by authorities. This has led many LGBTQI individuals in those countries to migrate in search of safety. In Colombia, LGBTQI people are also facing a growing backlash to their human rights victories.  

LGBTQI women and girls will be affected not just by Trump’s refugee ban. If the United States continues to roll back LGBTQI-friendly policies, it will send the wrong message to Latin American governments and societies that still have a long way to go to promote real equality.


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