General Assembly of the OAS – Presentation of the Report on Violence against LGBTI persons in the Americas in the Dominican Republic

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights co-sponsored an event with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Trans Este Podemos Avanzar – TEPA, and Trans Siempre Amigas -TRANSSA, these last two being Dominican LGBTI rights organizations in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on June 14, 2016. The purpose of the event, held parallel to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) was to present the Inter-American Commission’s report Violence against LGBTI Persons in the Americas.

The co-organizers welcomed the participation of Emilio Álvarez Icaza, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission, who began by summarizing the findings of the report and emphasizing the multi-faceted discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, and intersex persons in the Americas, and the violent consequences this discrimination produces. Inter-American Commission President, James Cavallaro, and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza, were also in attendance.

Mr. José Luiz Machado e Costa, Ambassador of Brazil to the OAS, noted that his country has been at the forefront of the push for the inclusion of LGBTI rights on the OAS agenda, and that civil society organizations have played a large role in this effort; including the resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity that Brazil always propose and co-sponsor.

Carlos Quesada, Executive Director of the Institute, spoke about the importance of the Commission’s report for LGBTI human rights activists in the region, and the need to utilize the recommendations included in said report for advocacy purposes. Representatives from the other two co-sponsoring organizations also urged the over ninety attendees to strategically advocate with domestic stakeholders for the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

This event was also marked by discussions highlighting intersectionality and the benefits of forming alliances with other groups facing varied forms of discrimination, especially at the regional and international levels. Alejandra Sarda from the LGBTI Coalition of LGBTI organizations in the Americas expressed that in Argentina they have been used already information from the report. Cristian King, Executive Director from TRANSSA expressed that the report included all the problems faced by members of the LGBTI community in the Dominican Republic; while Monica Ruiz from TEPA highlighted all the violence that the Trans community faced, not only in the Dominican Republic, but in the entire continent; especial from police and other state actors.

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