Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is deeply concerned by the troubling information received during the last four months (October, November and December 2013 and January 2014) on disturbing levels of violence and brutal attacks perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons (LGBTI) and against organizations and/or individuals who defend their human rights in the Americas. The Commission urges OAS Member States to adopt urgent and effective measures to prevent and tackle this violence, especially when it affects LGBTI human rights defenders.
In the last four months, the Commission has received an increasing number of reports of attacks against LGBTI organizations working in the field. Reports of such attacks have reached the Commission from different sources in various OAS Member States. For example, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, an LGBTI NGO reported that their office was viciously ransacked and its members physically attacked, threatened and harassed. Attackers allegedly hurled homophobic slurs while stealing computers and materials used by LGBTI activists. In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, human rights defenders of LGBTI persons and persons living with HIV were forced to close down their office after being continually threatened and attacked. During the previous months, several members of the organization had reportedly been physically assaulted, followed in the street, attacked by police agents, and, in July of 2013, a child of one of their leaders had been kidnapped. Further reports indicate that in January 2014, a gang broke into the offices of a Nicaraguan trans organization in Managua, allegedly attacking members of the organization, stealing materials and damaging property.
In November 2013, a trans woman and human rights defender was brutally attacked at the door of her home by a group of men and women in Antofagasta, Chile. In the same month, a trans man was assaulted and attacked by a group of men when he was on his way to a fund-raising event organized by an LGBTI NGO in Lima, Peru.
The Commission is also concerned about other obstacles to the activities of those who promote and defend the rights of LGBTI persons. In Monterrey, Mexico, an LGBTI student organization was denied permission by a private university to operate on campus and promote awareness against homophobia. In Lima, Peru, a member of the Metropolitan Council verbally attacked another member of the Council who insisted on including a reference to LGBTI persons in a non-discrimination bill. In California, United States, a female teacher was allegedly dismissed for openly defending LGBTI students who were being bullied.
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