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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Action alert: call on Peruvian authorities for justice in murder of HIV/AIDS & Gay activist

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Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) with Boletín Diversidad and VIHDARTE in an urgent call for letters to Peruvian authorities and demand from them: a condemnation of homophobic hate crimes, a full and fair investigation into Alberto Osorio's murder, for all perpetrators to be brought to justice and action to prevent such crimes.

At least 16 other gay or transgender people have been murdered under similar circumstances in Peru since 2009, and we call upon Peruvian authorities to act decisively to prevent such crimes and to protect the Peruvian LGBT community.
On the morning of 20 September 2010, the body of Alberto Osorio, 44, journalist and activist for the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, was found by his mother, Esther Castillo. Mrs. Castillo found her son's body in his apartment in the district of San Martin de Porres in northern Lima. He had been tied to his bed with a cable and bruises on his body indicated that he was beaten before being strangled.

In addition to Alberto Osorio, at least eight other gay or transgender people were murdered in 2010 in similar circumstances, according to Boletín Diversidad, a Peruvian organization that monitors homophobic violence. According to their human rights report, at least another seven gay or trans people were murdered in 2009. These crimes repeat the pattern used in the murder of Alberto Osorio: the perpetrator seduces the victim, enters their home and then beats, kills and robs them.

There is more to these crimes than the sensationalist reports of some in the Peruvian media that, in their accounts of murders of gay and transgender people, portray LGBT victims as immoral instead of focusing on the arbitrary and violent nature of these hate crimes. In the case of Alberto Osorio's death, their speculation included that the murder was revenge for intentional transmission of HIV or was the consequence of sadomasochistic practices gone too far. Rather what is needed is a focus on bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

Very few of the cases of gay men and transgender people who have been murdered over the past year have resulted in criminal prosecution. According to some LGBT activists in Peru, the failure to solve and prosecute these crimes is a result of homophobic bias. In those cases that did result in prosecutions, LGBT organizations maintain that the failure to bring specific charges relating to anti-gay hate crimes has led to weak convictions for the perpetrators. They argue that investigations and criminal charges must take into account the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of the victim as a potential motivation for the crime. Failing to do so allows for the impunity of perpetrators, underscores discrimination in the justice system itself, and leads to further hate crimes against LGBT people.

Alberto Osorio was a journalist and the president of VIHDARTE Centro de Desarollo Participativo Para Los Derechos y La Salud (Center for Participative Development for Health and Rights), a civil society organization he founded in 2001 to defend and promote the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. Alberto Osorio frequently denounced the Peruvian government's neglect and indifference to drug and treatment shortages for people living with HIV/AIDS. As a representative of this community he was appointed member of the national commission on AIDS, Comité Nacional Multisectorial de Lucha contra el SIDA (CONAMUSA).
Join the International Gays and Lesbians Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) with Boletín Diversidad and VIHDARTE in an urgent call for letters to Peruvian authorities and demand from them: a condemnation of homophobic hate crimes, a full and fair investigation into Alberto Osorio’s murder, and for all perpetrators to be brought to justice, and for action to be taken to prevent such crimes.

Please send your message to the following authorities in Peru:

Fiscal de la Nacion
Dra. Gladys Margot Echaíz Ramos
Fax 511-4262800
gechaiz@mpfn.gob.pe

Ministro del Interior
Sr. Pío Fernando Barrios Ipenza
Fax: 511- 2242403
ministro@mininter.gob.pe

Director de la Policia Nacional del Peru
Gral. de Policía Miguel Hidalgo Medina
dgdinfo@pnp.gob.pe

Defensora del Pueblo
Dra. Beatriz Merino Lucero
Fax 511- 426-7889
defensora@defensoria.gob.pe

Ministra de Justicia
Dra. Rosario Fernandez Figueroa
rfernand@minjus.gob.pe

Please copy your communication to:

International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Fernando D'Elio
fdelio@iglhrc.org

Boletín Diversidad
Victor Vazquez Maza
raizdiversidad@yahoo.es

Asociación VIHDARTE
Amador Caballero
amadorcafe@yahoo.es
Sample English Letter

October 7, 2010

Pío Fernando Barrios Ipenza
Minister of the Interior
Lima, Perú
Fax: 511- 2242403
Email: ministro@mininter.gob.pe

Dear Minister Barrios Ipenza,

I am writing to express my deep concern over the murder of Alberto Osorio, 44, a journalist and activist for the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Alberto Osorio was murdered in an apparent anti-gay hate crime. This brings to at least sixteen the number of people who have been killed since January 2009 on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I urge you to condemn all homophobic hate crimes, conduct a full and fair investigation into Alberto Osorio’s murder, and ensure that all perpetrators in his death are found, prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, I request that the Ministry of the Interior and other Peruvian authorities take all necessary measures to prevent these crimes from happening again in the future.

On 20 September 2010 at 9:30 am, Mr. Osorio body was found by his mother, Esther Castillo, in his apartment at Avenida Santa Mercedes 374, II Stage of Palao Urbanization in the district of San Martin de Porres in northern Lima. He was tied to his bed with a cable and bruises on his body indicated that he was beaten before being strangled to death.

Alberto Osorio was a journalist and the president of VIHDARTE Centro de Desarollo Participativo Para Los Derechos y La Salud (Center for Participative Development for Health and Rights), a civil society organization he founded in 2001 to defend and promote the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS – as a representative of this community, he was appointed member of the national commission on AIDS, Comité Nacional Multisectorial de Lucha contra el SIDA (CONAMUSA).

In addition to Alberto Osorio, at least eight other gay or transgender people were murdered in similar circumstances in 2010, according to Boletín Diversidad, a Peruvian organization that monitors homophobic violence. According to its 2009 human rights report “Reporte de DDHH de las personas LGTB 2009 (Boletín Diversidad- Raíz 2.0)” at least another seven gay or trans people were murdered in 2009. These crimes repeat the pattern used in the murder of Alberto Osorio: the perpetrator seduces the victim, enters their home and then beats, kills and robs them.

Very few of the cases of gay men and transgender people who have been murdered over the past year have resulted in criminal prosecution. I take seriously the concerns of LGBT activists in Peru who believe that the failure to solve these crimes is a result of homophobic bias. In those cases that resulted in prosecutions, as in the case of Marco Antonio Gallego, organizations have argued that the lack of charges specific to anti-gay hate crimes have led to weak convictions for the perpetrators. They argue that investigations and criminal charges that do not take into account the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of the victim as a potential motivation for the crime facilitate the impunity of perpetrators, underscore discrimination in the justice system itself, and lead to more hate crimes against LGBT people.

Although there is no Peruvian law that punishes crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Article 2 of the Political Constitution of Peru, guarantees the right to life; identity; moral, mental and phisical integrity; security; free development; and welfare. It also prohibits discrimination on the basis of origin, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, economic or other reasons. The Procedural Constitutional Law 28.237 (Código Procesal Constitucional), which entered into force in 2004, instituted a new constitutional protection that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, recognizes sexual minorities as a protected group, and allows individuals to submit appeals and complaints in cases of discrimination.

Peru is also a signatory to international and regional human rights treaties guaranteeing the right to life, non-discrimination, equality, and security of person, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights and other instruments such as the Andean Charter for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights which expressly sets forth the determination to combat sexual orientation discrimination.

I urge you to recognize your obligations under these treaties with regard to the murder of Alberto Osorio and request that:

    * The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, along with other relevant Peruvian authorities, publicly condemn the murder of Alberto Osorio and all other homophobic hate crimes.
    * Peruvian police and the Ministry of Justice conduct a full and fair investigation into the murder of Alberto Osorio and all other unresolved homophobic hate crimes leading to the prosecution of perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
    * The Defensoría del Pueblo del Peruvian human rights organizations collect, analyze and report on the details of and conviction rates for homophobic hate crimes.
    * Police undergo sensitivity training to strengthen prevention, monitoring, investigating, and tracking crimes related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV/AIDS status.

As a symbol of the government of Peru’s commitment to justice and equality for all without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status, I request that you give this issue the urgent attention it deserves.

Sincerely,

Name:
Organization (if applicable):
City:
Country:


CC: Fiscal de la Nacion
Director de la Policia Nacional del Peru
Defensora del Pueblo
Ministra de Justicia

National and International Law

Right to life (and to liberty and security of person) is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in its Article 3; by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in its Articles 6 and 9, by the American Convention on Human Rights (AHRC) in its Articles 4 and 7.

The right to equality before the law and the right to non-discrimination are protected by the Declaration in Articles 2 and 7, the Covenant in Articles 2 and 26, and the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, in Articles 1 and 24.

Peru ratified IICCPR on April 18, 1978 and ACHR on July 28, 1978

The UDHR is considered part of customary international law, and binding on all member States of the United Nations, including Perú, The Interamerican Human Rights Convention binds all OAS members

The United Nations Human Rights Committee affirmed in Toonen v Australia (1994) that existing protections against discrimination in Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be understood to include sexual orientation as a protected status. The UN Committee on Economic and Social Rights has made a similar observation in its General Comment 14 on the right to health. Numerous other United Nations human rights mechanisms have condemned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Organization of American States (OAS) in its resolution AG / RES. 2600 (XL-Ou/10) "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity", which text confirms the progress of previous years with resolutions AG/RÊS.2435 (XXXVIII-Ou / 08) and AG / RES 2504 ( -0/09 XXXIX) entitled "Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity." This new resolution submitted by Brazil and co-sponsored by Bolivia, stands out not only to condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity and express their concern about the violence faced by human rights defenders working on issues related to such violations, but also urges Member States to take all necessary measures to combat violations of human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring full access to justice for their victims.

In 2002, Peru ratified the Andean Charter to Promote and Protect Human Rights (Carta Andina de Promoción y Protección de los Derechos Humanos). Article 10 of this Charter reaffirms the decision of Andean states to combat all forms of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and any other form of intolerance or exclusion against individuals or communities on account of race, color, sex, age, language, religion, political beliefs, nationality, sexual orientation, immigration status or any other condition; it also reaffirms their commitment to promote national legislation to criminalize racial discrimination. Section F of the Charter is devoted specifically to the rights of people whose sexual orientation differs from that of the majority. Article 52 recognizes that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or preference, are entitled to the same human rights. In Article 53, signatory states commit themselves to combating all forms of discrimination against individuals on account of their sexual orientation or preference, in accordance with national legislation. Hence they commit themselves to paying special attention to the prevention and punishment of violence and discrimination against those whose sexual orientation or preference differs from that of the majority, as well as to providing legal resources for effective remedy in instances of damage caused by such offenses.

Law 28.237 passed by the Peruvian Parliament, instituted a new constitutional protection for the LGBT population. It prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, recognizes sexual minorities as a protected group, and allows individuals to submit appeals and complaints in cases of discrimination. Law 28.237 has been in force since December 1, 2004.
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