Perú: New Incidents Of Police Brutality. This Time Victims Are The Lesbians

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is deeply concerned about recent arrests of members of the LGBT community by Peruvian law enforcement agents. IGLHRC joins Peruvian activists in denouncing abuses against people in gay bars and trans sex workers perpetrated by Serenazgo officers (a security body active in Lima, whose legal status is not yet clearly specified by law) back in December 2005 and March 2006. This time, the victims were lesbians in a Lince district bar.

On October 13, 2006, Serenazgo officers, together with troops of the tactical actions unit (SUAT), and of the National Police, raided the 'Avenida 13' bar, a place frequented by young lesbians. Reporters of different television channels accompanied the police and filmed the incident. Activists of Raiz Diversidad have requested a meeting with Lince town officials in connection with this, but they have not received an answer yet.

ACTION

IGLHRC joins Raiz Diversidad’s activists’ call for a letter-writing campaign to denounce this violence and demanding a stop to the intimidation and violence against lesbian, gay and transvestis in Lima.

You can find a sample letter below.

Please write to:

Cesar Dario Gonzalez Arribasplata
Alcalde del Distrito de Lince (Lince District Mayor)
Mailing address: Municipalidad Distrital de Lince
Av. Juan Pardo de Zela Nº 480, Distrito de Lince, Lima- Perú
Email: alcaldia@munilince.gob.pe
Ministra del Interior: Doctora Pilar Mazzetti Soler
Ministerio del Interior
Mailing address: Plaza 30 de Agosto s/n Urb. Corpac - San Isidro, Lima- Perú
Email: ministro@mininter.gob.pe

And please send a copy to :

Dra: Luz Monge Talavera
Defensoría del Pueblo: Defensora para los Derechos de la Mujer
Ombudsman Office: Women Rights Ombudsman.
Email: lmonge@defensoria.gob.pe
Raíz Diversidad Sexual
Email: raizdiversidad@yahoo.es

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Sirs:

We write to express our concern about the violent campaign that the Lima City Security Department (“Serenazgo”) continues to carry out against members of the lesbian, travestis and gay community.

The harassment perpetrated by Serenazgo officers has already been denounced by several human rights organizations, including the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. On the night of October 13, 2006, troops of the tactical actions unit (SUAT), the National Police, the motorized police and Municipal Serenazgo units entered the "Avenue 13" bar, a place frequented by young lesbians.

The preceding violence generated panic among the youths that were in the establishment. Many of them were dragged out of the local bar and forced into police trucks, while television crews filmed them. After the massive detention of the young lesbians, the troops entered the second floor of the bar frequented by gay men, called "69".

We believe that it is your duty to protect, rather than harass, the residents of Lima, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual ,and transgender population. Peruvian authorities are obligated to uphold the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights and the Andean Chart to Protect and Promote Human Rights, all of which clearly condemn the abuses documented above. We hold all state actors accountable for respecting and protecting the freedom of expression of the activists and denouncing this current state of brutality. We demand that you are proactive in ensuring the safety of all residents of Lima.

We also demand that you:

  • Launch a thorough investigation of the facts. This investigation must begin with interviewing the witnesses of the brutality.
  • Punish those officers who are found responsible for violent and/or discriminatory treatment against trans and gay individuals in this and similar incidents.
  • Make Serenazgo’s mandate public and hold them accountable for their actions.
  • Call on citizens-- in particular, members of the civil society who work with populations that are likely to be targets of discrimination and abuse in the city-to work with law enforcement agents to initiate a dialogue for balancing the need for legal protection while respecting the rights of all.

We look forward to your immediate attention and actions to address these urgent matters.

Sincerely,

(Name, organization and address)

BACKGROUND

IGLHRC has already denounced the violence perpetrated by Serenazgo officers. Their act constitutes a pattern of verbal and physical aggressions, extortion and robbery against the gay, lesbian and travestis community in Lima. This precedent includes attacks against a group of gay men in Plaza San Martin and a group of travestis in Avenida Petit Thouars (July 22, 2005); a travesti named Nicole (November 19, 2005); patrons of a gay pub located in Jiron Manuel del Pino (November 30, 2005); a travesti sex worker named Tatiana (January 9, 2006), a public gathering in support of trans activist Belissa Andia, who was running for the Parliament (January 28, 2006), a travesti named Sandra (March 17, 2006) and the clients of three local frequented by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people (July 14, 2006).

Please check our previous Action Alerts for more details on previous incidents in which Serenazgo officers were involved:

Stop Harassment Against Gays and Travestis By Officers From Citizens\' Security Department in Lima, Peru
Date: December 14, 2005

Serenazgo Officers Involved in Two Other Incidents of Brutality
Date: February 6th, 2006

New Transphobic Aggression By Lima’s Serenazgo; Violence Must Stop!
Date: March 21, 2006

And, PERÚ: NEW INCIDENTS OF POLICE BRUTALITY PERPETRATED BY “SERENAZGO” OFFICERS AND TROOPS OF LIMA MUNICIPALITY, Date: July 9, 2006

INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC 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 Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IAHRC) in its Articles 4 and 7.

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.

Right to be free from discrimination and to equality before the law: Universal Declaration on Human Rights (Articles 2 and 7), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 2), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 2 and 26) and Interamerican Human Rights Convention (Articles 1 and 24).

Right to Peaceful Assembly is protected by the UDHR (Article 20), ICCPR (Article 21) and IAHRC (Article 15).

Right to Privacy: UDHR (Article 12), ICCPR (Articles 17) and IAHRC (Article 11).

Right to Freedom of Expression: UDHR (Article 19), ICCPR (Article 18), and IAHRC (Article 13).

In 2002, Peru has ratified the Andean Chart to Promote and Protect Human Rights (Carta Andina de Promoción y Protección de los Derechos Humanos). Article 10 of this Chart 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 collectives based on race, color, sex, age, language, religion, political beliefs, nationality, sexual orientation, migratory status and any other; as well as their commitment to promote national legislation that will criminalize racial discrimination. Section F of the Chart 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, signatory states commit themselves to combat all forms of discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or choice, according to national legislation and so they will pay special attention to preventing and punishing violence and discrimination against those whose sexual orientation or choice differs from that of the majority, as well as providing legal resources for effective remedy in case 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 such discrimination. Law 28.237 is in force since December 1, 2004.

Peru has ratified IICPR on April 18, 1978 and IAHRC on July 28, 1978

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

ABOUT IGLHRC

IGLHRC
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
80 Maiden Lane, Suite 1505
New York, NY 10038
phone: 212.268.8040
fax: 212.430.6060
email: iglhrc@iglhrc.org
www.iglhrc.org

CONTRIBUTIONS

Participation in the Emergency Response Network is free, but contributions are greatly appreciated and needed. Contributions are tax-deductible in the United States. Contributions can be made on your Visa or Mastercard (just include the amount, your account number, and expiration date). Alternatively, contributions can be sent by check via regular mail to the address above.