Press Release

IACHR expresses concern regarding homicides and acts of violence against LGBTI persons in the Americas

December 12, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reiterates its deep concern on the homophobic, lesbophobic and transphobic violence in the region and urges States to adopt urgent measures to prevent homicides and acts of violence against lesbians, gays, and bisexual, trans and intersex persons (LGBTI), and against other persons perceived as such.

During October and November 2012, the Commission received information on 54 murders of LGBTI persons in the region. Out of that total, the Commission was informed that 35 were committed against trans persons and transgender women or those perceived as such, which occurred in: Argentina (1), Bolivia (1), Brazil (20), the Dominican Republic (1), Honduras (1), Mexico (8), Nicaragua (1), and the United States (2).

Also, the Commission received information on 15 murders of gay men or men perceived to be gay during these two months. These occurred in Brazil (12), Mexico (2), and Nicaragua (1). Finally, the Commission also received information that there were 4 homicides of lesbian women or women perceived to be lesbian, occurring in Brazil (3) and Ecuador (1).

Furthermore, during October and November, the Commission continued receiving alarming information on other human rights violations of LGBTI persons. The IACHR was informed of attacks against personal integrity, including serious acts of violence at the hands of individuals; acts of "corrective" rape of lesbian women; and situations of police abuse and arbitrary detentions, especially of trans women. Also, the IACHR is concerned about the allegations of human rights violations of persons deprived of liberty who are LGBTI.

The Commission recalls that it is the States' obligation to investigate acts of this nature and sanction those responsible. The Commission urges the States to open lines of investigation that take into account whether these murders were committed because of the gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of the victims. In general terms, the Commission notes that there are problems in the investigation of those crimes. In this regard, the Commission reiterates that the ineffectiveness of the state?s 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 States to take action to prevent and respond to these human rights abuses and to ensure that LGBTI 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.

No. 146/12