Human rights defender
Tomy works as a Human Rights Defender and a journalist in Honduras, focusing her work on the violations of human rights. For several years, she denounced those violations and got engaged in the defence of women’s rights, freedom of speech and indigenous rights. She accompanied different social groups and movements, like feminist movements, indigenous people, farmers, and also students, helping them through her journalistic work.
Journalists and Human Rights Defenders suffer in Honduras
Journalists and Human Rights Defenders in Honduras are faced with threats, attacks and killings. Between 2009 and April 2016, fifty-nine journalists were murdered. In most cases, the authorities fail to investigate and prosecute the crimes, even though the government enacted a law to protect Human Rights Defenders and journalists in May 2015. In Honduras, the journalists’ freedom of expression is also severely constrained by the Honduran government. According to Human Rights Watch, journalists remain too little protected and the government little willing to work towards improving their situation.
Indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights
Tomy was among others part of a social movement demanding justice in the case of the murder of an indigenous leader and helped this movement by monitoring and covering the different actions. She also got involved in a fight opposing indigenous people to a municipality, which started the construction of dams on the local river. She spoke up to defend their land rights as well as to contest the arbitrary detention of farmers and children involved in the conflict. She was also part of women’s rights movements, mostly regarding the right of therapeutic abortion.
As a human rights journalist, Tomy also faces threats herself. Harassments on social media, surveillance or persecution are her routine, imposing a heavy psychological and physical burden on her. Her willingness to keep independent and objective in the way she works makes it difficult for her to find a stable job in journalism.
“According to the statistics 65 journalists and 11 Human Rights efenders have been killed since the coup in 2009. These numbers do not include the defenders of land rights and natural resources, neither the environmental activists.”