WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a former Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today released the following statement regarding the kidnap and murder of Honduran LGBT rights leader René Martinez:

“I am outraged by the murder of René Martinez, a brave and dedicated foot soldier in the difficult battle for LGBT rights in Honduras.  Anti-LGBT violence is dangerously pervasive in Honduras, and much more must be done to hold individuals accountable for these heinous hate crimes.  I urge the government of Honduras to launch a full, thorough and independent investigation and to accept the offer of assistance from our Embassy.

“As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, ‘Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.’  As we ramp up our country’s investment in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, we need to protect the subregion’s most vulnerable populations.  This means protecting the basic human rights of LGBT individuals and ensuring that citizens of these countries are not killed or assaulted just because of who they are.  The State Department will soon be certifying whether or not to move forward with assistance to the central governments of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  As this determination is made, I expect to receive a full evaluation of steps being taken to protect the LGBT communities in these countries.”