Quito, Ecuador. November 12, 2019. In the thematic hearing held during the 174 period of Hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Quito, Ecuador, LGBTI activists and Afro-descendants from Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru presented on the situation of violence, lack of protection, and lack of knowledge of their prevailing rights […]
Ecuador. November 12, 2019. In the thematic hearing held during the 174 period of Hearings of the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Quito, Ecuador, LGBTI activists
and Afro-descendants from Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru
presented on the situation of violence, lack of protection, and lack of
knowledge of their prevailing rights in each of these States.
space, the activists highlighted how Afro-descendants with sexual orientations
and non-normative gender identities are at greater risk of suffering from violations
of their rights, especially by the States’ general lack of knowledge on the
differentiated effects suffered by people living this reality.
Likewise, the activists presented a summary of different cases of murder and violence against transgender people and Afro-descendants, especially those committed with a high degree of cruelty and hatred; in addition to remaining completely unpunished.
January of this year, in Brazil, a trans woman had her heart torn out and then replaced
by the image of a saint. Her murderer was acquitted of the charge, even though
he narrated in great detail how he had killed her and kept her heart at home
with a smile on his face,” said Afro-Brazilian activist Bruna Benavides, a
member of the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals, or ANTRA in
information given by Benavides, this year alone, 110 trans people were killed
in Brazil, 85% of them black. Likewise, the activist reported that 90% of the
population of transvestites and trans women in this country are engaged in
prostitution due to the lack of job opportunities.
pointed out that this group of people are recurring victims of different State
institutions due to the inaccessibility of appropriate healthcare services and
of fair employment opportunities and recognition, as well as having a lack of respect
for their identities. In this regard, Benavides added ,“… today we
are afraid to walk the streets again, and as a defender of human rights, I do
not feel safe despite the progress we have made because our leaders have common
policies of racist hatred , male chauvinism…”
In this order, the leader Justo Arevalo representative of the Colombian organizations Arco Iris de Tumaco, the National Conference of Afro-Colombian Organizations (CNOA), and Somos Identidad, highlighted that contexts of rejection, violence, and discrimination within these communities towards people who assume a non-normative sexual orientation or gender identity create other types of cyclical and systemic violence that threaten the integrity of AfroLGBTI people. An example of this is in Colombia, where there is forced displacement towards cities that sharpen the circles of violence in which these people live.
of 2019, a report on the realities experienced by Afro-LGBTI people was filed
in Bogotá before the Jurisdiction for Peace, whose main findings show that
documented violence and impact are blocked by very racial and class-particular
relations, typical of the sociocultural, economic, and political environment in
which they occur, prejudice as a factor of violence, and the responsibility of
illegal armed actors in the face of serious violations of rights against Afro LGBT
added in his speech.
Belén Zapata, an
Afro-descendant trans activist from Peru, alerted the audience of the impact
that police abuse has on the lives of Afro-descendant and transvestite people,
highlighting that it sets a pattern of deep violence against their right to
personal integrity in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, and Peru.
activist referred to the access of healthcare services by trans-descendant
Afro-descendant women in the region, which is characterized in its generality
for not being efficient or worthy of use by this population.
In this regard,
the activist added: “There are still cases in which medical personnel
offer inadequate and/or improper care to Afro-descendant transgender women.
This pattern is particularly serious in cases of care for Afro-descendant
transgender women who perform sex work and are taken in for injuries as a
result of physical aggressions. But also, in cases where the request for other
services is related to reproductive health or HIV / AIDS. “
the rights of Afro-LGBTI people is systematic
as we avoid highlighting the intersection between race and sexual diversity, we
will continue to perpetuate a system that makes the Afro-descendant LGBTI
community invisible; we will continue to have legal structures, public policies,
and government institutions that do not protect or guarantee the human rights
of the Afro LGBTI population,” added Katherine Ventura, representative of the American University Legal
Clinic. She also pointed out that there are patterns of violence that are
particular to the Afro-LGBTI population, naming three: 1) Absence of rights’
guarantees focused on the Afro-LGBTI community; 2) Lack of implementation of
existing laws and 3) Inadequate data collection, particularly in criminal
investigation processes against Afro-LGBTI people.
On this matter,
the Commissioners of the IACHR indicated the responsibility of the States to
collect data, generate policies, and promote processes that guarantee the reparation,
respect, and recognition of the rights of Afro-LGBTI people. In this regard, Commissioner
Margarette May Macaulay urged States to ratify the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination as an alternative that seeks to
address the issues of Afro-descendants with sexual orientations and
non-normative gender identities.
To finalize the hearing, the organizations requested that the IACHR to urge the States of Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru to:
1. Urgently investigate cases of homicide and police abuse that
involve Afro-LGBTI persons and, consequently, register and characterize them
2. Implement the recommendations of the Afro-LGBTI
population that this Commission has made since 2015, particularly those focused
on the development of public policies that explicitly include the Afro-LGBTI
3. As part of the fulfillment of the objectives proposed in
the Decade of Afro-descendants 2015-2024, the Afro-LGBTI population should be
included as a beneficiary of justice and development-oriented measures in the
region, and it should be requested that all states comply with the
recommendations of the Inter-American Commission regarding the importance of
providing differentiated data on sexual orientation and gender identity.
4. Suggest the ratification of the Inter-American Convention
against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerances and the
Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance
to all States.
5. That the Inter-American Commission publish the report of the on-site visit to Brazil in 2018 and the rapporteur on the rights of Afro-descendants and racial discrimination visit Brazil to better know the situation of the Afro-LGBTI population, with effective participation of civil society organizations.