Press Release

IACHR Condemns Murder of Gay Adolescent in Brazil

July 16, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Lucas Ribeiro Pimentel, a 15-year-old adolescent who self-identified as gay, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to the information received, Lucas Ribeiro Pimentel's body was found on June 28, 2012, floating in the river Paraíba do Sul, in Volta Redonda, State of Río de Janeiro. The available information indicates that he was robbed, beaten and impaled through the anus, and that his eyes had been perforated. Police authorities informed that the investigation includes the hypothesis of homophobic motivations, in addition to that of a robbery.

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.

No. 89/12