IACHR Condemns Murder of Trans Adolescent in Mexico
June 25, 2012
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Octavio Hernández Villanueva, a trans youth who was 16 years old, in the city of Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.
According to the information received, on June 20, 2012, the body was found in a remote area, near the roadway to Tepic. The information available further indicates that the body was found wearing women's clothes, presenting abrasions and a knife wound on the neck. Civil society organizations expressed their concern on the possibility that authorities may be less meticulous in the investigation if the consider that this is a crime of passion, as has ocurred in similar situations in the past.
The IACHR reminds the State of its obligation to investigate such acts on its own initiative and to punish those responsible. The Inter-American Commission urges the State to conduct an investigation that takes into account whether this murder was committed because of the gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation of the victim. In addition, the IACHR reiterates that the State has an obligation of special protection regarding children and adolescents, who because of their age are in a special situation of vulnerability.
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 very frequently, 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 state response fosters high rates of impunity, which in turn lead to the chronic repetition of such crimes, leaving the victims and their families defenseless.
The IACHR urges the State 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 from discrimination and violence, including the adoption of policies and public campaigns and the amendments necessary to bring laws into line with the inter-American instruments on human rights.
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 Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.