Press Release

IACHR Urges the States to Adopt Urgent Measures against Homophobic and Transphobic Violence in the Region

October 29, 2012

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its deep concern over the homophobic and transphobic violence in the region and urges the States to adopt urgent measures to stop the homicides, attacks and acts of aggression against lesbians, gays, and trans, bisexual and intersex persons (LGTBI), and against any persons perceived as such.

Only during September, the Commission received information on the 26 homicides of LGTBI persons or perceived as such: one in Argentina, 18 in Brazil, four in Honduras, one in Mexico, one in Uruguay and one in Venezuela. It is obligation of the States to investigate these killings on its own accord and punish the persons that are determined responsible. The Commission urgest 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 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 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 States 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. 129/12