Press Release

IACHR Urges States to End Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17, 2012

Washington, D.C. - On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges states to adopt and implement the steps necessary to eradicate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

The Commission notes that some of the region’s countries have made legislative progress in relation to gender identity, one of the main demands of trans women and men; others have taken steps forward with the adoption of antidiscrimination laws. The IACHR commends this progress and urges States to take it further, in light of their obligation to ensure equality before the law and eradicate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Commission continues to receive information on killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and other forms of violence and exclusion against lesbians, gays, and trans, bisexual, and intersex persons. In addition, the Commission notes that problems exist in the investigation of those crimes, which involve, in part, failures to open lines of investigation into whether the crime was committed by reason of the victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The ineffectiveness of the justice system fosters high rates of impunity, which in turn lead to the chronic repetition of such crimes, leaving the victims and their families in a state of absolute defenselessness.

The IACHR also expresses its concern about laws criminalizing homosexuality and gender expressions such as the use of attire traditionally associated with the opposite sex, and about the consequences that such legislation can have on the full enjoyment of human rights.

The IACHR urges the states of the Americas to take action to prevent and respond to these human rights abuses and to ensure that LGTBI people can effectively enjoy their right to a life free of discrimination and violence, including the adoption of policies and public campaigns and the amendments necessary to bring their laws into line with the inter-American instruments on human rights. The Commission places itself at the disposal of the States to assist, in accordance with its functions, in progressing toward that goal.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly.


No. 51/12