Joint statement on the murder of Jonathan Cruz, human rights defender from Honduras

On November 8, 2018, we were informed that Honduran human rights defender, Jonathan Cruz, was murdered.

Due to high risks, Jonathan requested temporary relocation in the Shelter City programme in Costa Rica and was accepted for immediate relocation. The Shelter City Programme was waiting for him on Monday, November 12 in Costa Rica, after giving him a few days to apply for his passport to enter Costa Rica.

Jonathan Cruz was a recognized defender of the LGBTI population with a long trajectory that began in 2010 with several LGBTI rights defense organisations. Since 2017, he had been working as a volunteer of the LGBTI Arco Iris Association. Jonathan was in charge of the monitoring of cases of attacks against the LGTBI population, providing information to the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Life. In this capacity, he also referred instances of violence against the LGBTI community to the Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office.

On October 24, 2018, in response to repeated threats and physical attacks, Jonathan requested protective measures before the National Protection System, and in particular before the Immediate Reaction Unit.

Subsequently, he requested temporary relocation in the Shelter City Costa Rica programme to be able to leave the country temporarily due to his risks. Jonathan told Shelter City Costa Rica in his interview that he had suffered several attacks and threats in his home by attackers already reported and denounced before various authorities. These attacks occurred on November 26, 2017, April 9, 2018 and October 20, 2018.

Jonathan was formally accepted into the programme on November 6, 2018. One day after receiving the news about his acceptance in Shelter City Costa Rica, Jonathan wrote on his Facebook wall “Thank you my God, I am very grateful for this great news and opportunity you have given me. Thanks for opening this door, I hope you will continue to bless me my dear god. ” On November 8, Jonathan was killed on his way home.

We extend our solidarity and condolences to Shelter City Costa Rica,  as well as to Jonathan Cruz’s family and friends. The work and passion of Jonathan to defend the rights of LGTBI people and promote the love of diversity must be an example to all of us. In particular, we hope it will be a source of inspiration for the people of Honduras, encouraging them to take a strong steps against hatred, prejudice, and indifference.

To the Government of Honduras

The Honduran Government must implement all the international commitments on Human Rights that it has undertaken, and we call for the following measures to be adopted:

  1. Conduct an immediate investigation on the murder of Jonathan Cruz;
  2. Immediately identify and prevent persons and groups promoting hatred within the State’s security structures;
  3. Disseminate a public, powerful message, calling for the immediate cessation of violence against human rights defenders in the country;
  4. Apologise to Jonathan’s family for the State’s inefficiency in this case.

 

To the international community

As  the International Network of Shelter Cities, we are highly concerned about the vulnerable situation of the human rights defenders that apply to our programmes. We call on the international community, and, in particular, European embassies and the representations of the European Union to:

  1. Actively promote and implement the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 2004;
  2. Support our relocation programs by guaranteeing protection and a safe space to human rights defenders before they travel to our temporary relocation programmes, and to follow up on their safety situations upon their return;
  3. Monitor due process in the investigation on the murder of Jonathan Cruz and other Human Rights Defenders whose murder is under judicial investigation in Honduras and the Central American region;
  4. Continue to support governments to implement national protection mechanisms more efficiently for human rights defenders and to adopt those mechanisms if they have not done so;
  5. Continue to monitor governments’ implementation of their commitments, obligations, and responsibilities under international human rights law;

 

International Network of Shelter Cities:

  1. Fundación Acceso in Costa Rica
  2. Shelter City team in Costa Rica and its participants
  3. Shelter City Netherlands, powered by Justice and Peace Netherlands and 11 Dutch Shelter Cities
  4. Shelter City Tbilisi in Georgia
  5. Shelter City Dar es Salam in Tanzania, powered by the Africa Human rights Network