States must adopt comprehensive measures to prevent violence based on prejudice against lesbians.

April 26, 2022

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Washington, D.C. –  On International Lesbian Visibility Day, the IACHR calls on the States of the region to adopt comprehensive measures to prevent prejudice-based violence, in observance of their duty of due diligence to protect against and prevent structural and intersectional discrimination faced by lesbians.

Lesbian women and other persons who identify as lesbians in the region are at risk of suffering acts of violence motivated by prejudices that seek to punish the diversity of sexual orientations, identities, and gender expressions. In this regard, the IACHR has highlighted, on various occasions, that lesbian women are in a situation of special vulnerability to acts of lethal violence motivated by prejudice, as well as violent practices commonly known as "conversion therapies".

In view of these experiences and persistent risks, States must observe their international obligations to eradicate discrimination and to adopt strategies to prevent risk factors and strengthen the institutions responsible for responding to acts of violence. State obligations include those derived from the Convention of Belém do Pará, which requires States to implement concrete measures to decisively eradicate gender stereotypes that motivate prejudice-based violence through educational initiatives that promote cultural change.

The IACHR calls on the States to develop comprehensive policies to prevent, address and eradicate gender-based violence and which addresses the structural and intersectional causes of discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. This includes ensuring the sexual and reproductive rights of Lesbian women and other persons who identify as lesbians. The Commission emphasizes that policies for the prevention of prejudice-based violence should rely on information collected in a systematic and disaggregated manner, pursuant to Inter-American standards.

Finally, the Commission calls on the States to sign and ratify the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

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 and to defend 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. 089/22

3:50 PM