Remembering Erick Martínez
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) is deeply saddened by the murder of Erick Martínez, a renowned LGBT rights advocate who served as the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at Asociación Kukulcan, a respected LGBT rights organization in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Erick was a fearless human rights defender, respected and appreciated by his peers and renowned for his dedication to creating a better world in Honduras. To those of us who were fortunate enough to know him personally, he was a friend, a fighter and a beautiful human being.
Erick was a devoted LGBT rights advocate, but he was a journalist at heart. Throughout his career, he contributed to numerous HIV publications, reporting on issues concerning HIV and human rights in Honduras. More recently, his dedication to human dignity and social justice led him to join the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (National Front of Popular Resistance), a progressive political party formed after the coup d’état in June 2009.
As part of his commitment to social progress, Erick was selected as a candidate for Congress in the upcoming national elections. He was representing the LGBT community within the political movement and was well respected by his peers inside the Resistencia Party.
Erick was a long-time partner of the MSMGF, most recently co-facilitating the “Speaking Out!” regional HIV advocacy training for MSM and transgender advocates, held earlier this year in Tela, Honduras. As always, his dedication, social grace and deep understanding of human rights lent a distinction to this work that was uniquely Erick’s. He was determined and jovial, with a character that was strong but fair. He dreamed restlessly, and worked passionately, toward a better world.
Erick’s body was found in Tegucigalpa over the weekend. It is too early to know what transpired, but initial police reports suggest that Erick was asphyxiated.
Erick’s death reminds us of the risks, violence and harassment faced by MSM and transgender advocates around the world, both due to their activism and their sexual orientation and gender identity. Erick will be deeply missed by his family, his comrades, and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
The MSMGF demands that that the Honduran government conduct a full and fair investigation into Erick’s murder, and that those responsible are brought to justice. According to the 2011 Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 41 members of the LGBT community have been killed in Honduras between June 2009 and early 2011 – but many cases go unreported, and local advocates estimate the true number is at least twice that high.
The MSMGF and our allies commit to honoring Erick’s legacy by carrying on the work he dedicated his life to achieving: health and human rights of LGBT people everywhere.
Those who wish to reach out to Kukulcan can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.