Francela Méndez RodríguezAge 29
30 May 2015
Sonsonate (El Salvador)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/30-May-2015/Francela Méndez Rodríguez
Francela was murdered on 31st May at colona Las Palmeras, in the city of Sonsonate, El Salvador. While her murder has sparked protests and international outrage no arrests have been made.
The brutal murder drew condemnation from David Morales the Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights of El Salvador, who said it was an expression of “rejection” and “hatred” against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people ( LGTBI).
Morales called on the prosecutor to conduct an “investigation of the murder of Francela Mendez, without use of discriminatory criteria, as this would violate due process”.
The ombudsman noted that the El Salvadorian justice system is indifferent to the murder of trans women which in turn stimulates more heinous attacks.
Francela was a human rights activist who worked daily with Colectivo Alejandría, an organization that advocates for the rights of gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in El Salvador.
Like many LGBT activists, Francela Méndez Rodríguez served in dual roles. She worked to combat stigma and discrimination through Colectivo Alejandría, an advocacy organization she helped create in 2010. She also implemented HIV programs in her community as part of the Global Fund's project in El Salvador.
In May, Francela's efforts on behalf of her community were cut short by violence. She was murdered by unknown assailants while visiting the home of a friend, who was also killed during the attack. According to Front Line Defenders, she was the tenth trans woman to be murdered in the country in 2015. She was 29 years old.
Francela's case is far from isolated. For many people who provide HIV services to LGBT populations, managing violence has become a part of the job. Attacks against clients, volunteers, staff members and leadership have been recorded around the world, and their impact on HIV services has been devastating.
TvT project: Human Rights Campaign 12.06.2015 & The Advocate 09.06.2015