Perú: Ask the Peruvian Congress to Recognize the Right of Young Homosexuals to Non-Discrimination

SUMMARY

The Peruvian Congress is debating joining the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth (Spain, 2005) that seeks to promote and safeguard the rights of young people. The Convention also seeks to remedy the inequality that thousands of young people confront for a variety of reasons, including for having a sexual orientation different from heterosexuality. But the Foreign Relations Committee of the Congress of Peru has raised concerns in this respect, and opposes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

ACTION

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) joins the Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL) asking that you send e-mails or faxes, urging the Peruvian Congress to ratify the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth without reservations. IGLHRC has already written to members of the Peruvian government. Feel free to cut and paste our letter (enclosed) as a sample and contact the individuals listed below.

Please send your letter to:

DR. LUIS GONZÁLES POSADA EYZAGUIRRE
President
Congress of the Peruvian Republic
lgonzales@congreso.gob.pe;
aestrada@congreso.gob.pe;
mmoyano@congreso.gob.pe;
ctorres@congreso.gob.pe
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF SPOKESPERSONS
Congress of the Peruvian Republic
cgalindo@congreso.gob.pe;
oluizar@congreso.gob.pe;
lnegreiros@congreso.gob.pe;
sfujimori@congreso.gob.pe;
cbruce@congreso.gob.pe
DR. ALEJANDRO AGUINAGA RECUENCO
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Congress of Peruvian Republic
aaguinaga@congreso.gob.pe
DR. KARINA BETETA RUBIN
Chairperson of the Committee on Women and Social Development
Congress of Peruvian Republic
kbeteta@congreso.gob.pe

Please also send a copy to:

Movimiento Homosexual de Lima
estafeta@mhol.org.pe
IGLHRC – Programa para América Latina y el Caribe
fdelio@iglhrc.org

SAMPLE LETTER

December 12, 2007
Dr. Luis González Posada Eyzaguirre
President, Congress of the Peruvian Republic

President of the Peruvian Congress, Dr. Luis González Posada Eyzaguirre:

I write on behalf of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to request your support for the ratification without reservations of the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth. The Convention seeks to promote and safeguard the rights of young people, and to remedy the inequality that thousands of young people confront for many reasons, including for having a sexual orientation different from heterosexuality.

Far from promoting same-sex unions, the only right that the Convention grants to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people involves non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Convention is consistent with legislation passed by the Peruvian Congress (Article 2 of the Constitution and Law 28237), the Constitutional Court (Exp. 0023-2003-AI/TC, 2868-2004-AA/TC and 2273-2005-PHC/TC), Ministry of the Interior (Handbook of Human Rights Applied to the Civil Police) and the Ministry of Health (Multisector Strategic Plan 2007-2011 for the prevention and control of STI, HIV and AIDS in Peru) and the international treaties signed by Peru.

This Convention recognizes that building just and humane societies requires recognizing the diversity that exists in every community.

We urge the Peruvian Congress to take these arguments into account and ratify the Convention without reservations.

We trust that you will give this issue the attention it deserves.

Sincerely,

Paula Ettelbrick
Paula Ettelbrick
Executive Director
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

CC: Members of the Board of Spokespersons, Congress of the Peruvian Republic; Dr. Alejandro Aguinaga Recuenco, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congress of Peruvian Republic; Dr. Karina Beteta Rubin, Chairperson of the Committee on Women and Social Development, Congress of Peruvian Republic


CARTA MODELO EN CASTELLANO

12 de Diciembre de 2007
Dr. Luis González Posada Eyzaguirre
Presidente del Congreso de la Republica del Peru

Les escribo en nombre de la Comisión Internacional de los Derechos Humanos para Gays y Lesbianas para solicitar su apoyo a la ratificación sin reservas de la Convención Iberoamericana de los Derechos de los Jóvenes. Los enunciados de la Convención buscan promover y garantizar los derechos de la juventud y a su vez remediar la situación de desigualdad que hoy en día viven miles de jóvenes por diversas razones, como tener una orientación sexual distinta de la heterosexual.

La Convención, lejos de plantear uniones entre personas del mismo sexo –principal argumento para plantear reservas en lo referido a la no discriminación por orientación sexual-, reconoce la igualdad en derechos de miles de peruanas y peruanos sin distingo de su orientación sexual, y sigue la línea marcada previamente por el Congreso (Articulo 2 de la Constitución y Ley 28237), el Tribunal Constitucional (Exp. 0023-2003-AI/TC, 2868-2004-AA/TC y 2273-2005-PHC/TC), el Ministerio del Interior (Manual de Derechos Humanos Aplicados a la Función Policial) y el Ministerio de Salud (Plan Estratégico Multisectorial 2007-2011 para la Prevención y Control de las ITS, VIH y Sida en el Perú) y por los tratados internacionales suscritos por el Perú.

La Convención reconoce la diversidad que en toda comunidad existe y que va de la mano con la construcción de sociedades en las que todas y todos puedan vivir de manera más humana y justa.

En este sentido, exhortamos a las y los congresistas peruanos a tener en consideración estos argumentos acerca de por qué el Estado Peruano debe ratificar la Convención sin reservas.

Confiamos en que ustedes dedicarán a este tema toda la atención que merece.

Cordialmente,
Paula Ettelbrick
Paula Ettelbrick
Directora Ejecutiva
Comisión Internacional de los Derechos Humanos para Gays y Lesbianas

Con copia: Señores Miembros de la Junta de Portavoces , Congreso de la República, Doctor Alejandro Aguinaga Recuento, Presidente de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores Congreso de la República, Doctora Karina Beteta Rubin, Presidenta de la Comisión de la Mujer y Desarrollo Social Congreso de la República

BACKGROUND

On October 16, 2007, the Foreign Relations Committee of the Congress of Peru approved Draft Legislative Resolution No. 148/2006 PE, proposing that Peru ratify the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth with the following reservations:

  • Article 5 and Article 14 relating to non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and subparagraph (1) of Article 20 related to the right to build a family—because they are in conflict with Article 5 of the Peruvian Constitution and Article 234 of the Civil Code both defining marriage as the stable union between a man and a woman.
  • Subparagraph (2) of Article 9 with respect to the non-application of the death penalty to young people between 18 and 24 years—because it is contrary to Article 20, paragraph 2 of the Penal Code, which says that children under 18 are exempt from penal responsibility.
  • Subparagraph (2) of Article 19 regarding the expression "as well as to its willingness will be decisive in the case of adoption"—because this conflicts with Article 9 of Law No. 273337, the Code of Children and Adolescents, which says that, “the child and adolescent capable of forming their own views shall have the right to express their opinion freely in all of the affairs that affect them and through the means that they elect, including the objection of conscience, and to have their opinions taken into account as a function of their age and maturity.”

The resolution implies that heterosexuality is "natural" and that homosexuality is unnatural, therefore excluding LGBT adolescents from the possibility of fully enjoying their rights.

Underlying the resolution is the fear that the Convention could be invoked to recognize same-sex couples unions. The resolution is therefore based on principles that are openly discriminatory toward people because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

On 29 October, the full Congress discussed the reservations, and with 57 votes, returned the resolution to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and to the Women’s Committee, which will analyze the concerns and decide whether Peru should ratify the Convention, or whether the initiative will be filed.

INTERNATIONAL, REGIONAL AND DOMESTIC LEGISLATION

The United Nations Human Rights Committee affirmed in its decision in Toonen v Australia (1994) that existing protections against discrimination in Articles 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) should be understood to include sexual orientation as a protected status. Numerous other human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have subsequently condemned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The right to be free from discrimination and the right to equality before the law is protected by the UDHR (Articles 2 and 7), ICCPR (Articles 2 and 26) and ICHR (Articles 1 and 24).

In 2002, the Peruvian President signed the Andean Charter to Promote and Protect Human Rights. 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 groups based on race, color, sex, age, language, religion, political beliefs, nationality, sexual orientation, or migratory status, as well as 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 choice, are entitled to the same human rights. In Article 52, the signatories commit themselves to combatting all forms of discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or choice, paying special attention to preventing and punishing violence and discrimination against those whose sexual orientation or choice differs from that of the majority. The signatories also commit to providing legal resources for effective remedy in cases of damage caused by such crimes.

Peru ratified ICCPR on May 10, 1978; CAT on July 29, 1991 and IAHRC (Inter American Human Rights Convention) on August 9, 1977. The UDHR is considered part of customary international law, and binding on all member States of the United Nations, including Peru. Also the Inter-American Human Rights Convention binds all OAS members.

The proposed reservations are contrary to the constitutional principle of non-discrimination, which states that: “Nobody must be discriminated by origin, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, economic status, or any other reason.” The reservations therefore undermine the framework of protections that the State has established for guaranteeing the development and the full enjoyment of citizenship rights, especially for the most vulnerable groups and people in Peruvian society.
Law 28.237 (approved by the Peruvian Parliament) instituted a new Constitutional Implementation Code prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, recognizing sexual minorities as a protected group, and allowing individuals to submit appeals and complaints in cases of discrimination. Law 28.237 has been in force since December 1, 2004.

The Peruvian Constitutional Court established in files 0023-2003-AI/TC, 2868-2004-AA/TC, and 2273-2005-PHC/TC, that sexual orientation is not an objective or reasonable reason to compromise individual rights: "the law does not serve the moral through the legal principles it mandates, but by the rights it guarantees; it turns towards morals via rights and not duties. It guarantees rights to individuals, so that they can better fulfill their moral duties […]. "

The Ministry of Health has created public policies to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, including the recent approval of the Multisectoral Strategic Plan 2007-2011 for the prevention and control of STI, HIV and AIDS in Peru.

In 2006, the Ministry of the Interior adopted the Handbook of Human Rights Applied to the Civil Police. This stipulates that the police must respect human rights, especially of the most vulnerable groups, making explicit reference to the sexual orientation of lesbians, gays and travestis.