Press Release

IACHR Condemns Murder of Trans Women in Brazil

September 5, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of trans women during the las few days in several States of Brazil.

According to the information received by the Commission, on August 25, 2012, the body of a 31-year-old trans woman, registered at birth as Marcos Roberto de Souza Vieira, was found in the city of Tres Lagoas, Mato Grosso do Sul. On August 24, 2012, in Campinas, State of Sao Paulo, the body of a 26-year-old trans woman, registered at birth as Robson Franco Pereira, was found with seven shots to the face and body. On August 19, 2012, a 25-year-old trans woman, registered at birth as Tiago da Silva Oliveira, was killed by three gun shots in the State of Pernambuco. On August 17, 2012, the body of Laryssa Silveira, also identified as R.F.S.G, was found with three gun shots in the highway between Piracicaba and Tietê, State of Sao Paulo. On August 15, 2012, 30-year-old Rafaela or Eduarda, registered at birth as Carlos Eduardo Vasconcelos, and 24-year-old Ysabelle, registered at birth as Abelardo dos Santos Freier, were killed by several gun shots in São José of Rio Preto, State of São Paulo, in events where other two trans women were seriously injured. In addition, on August 12, 2012, a trans woman who has not been identified yet, was killed of several gun shots in the city of Feira de Santana, State of Bahia.

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.

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 expression, 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. 113/12