Argentina: Despite Anti-Discrimination Ordinance GLBT Community in Rosario Continues to be a Target

On September 18, Colectivo Arco Iris presented an official report denouncing the continued persecution of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population by governmental authorities in Rosario, the second largest city in Argentina. The document was presented to the media, the Provincial Justice Tribunals, the DefensorÍa del Pueblo, and the National Institute against Discrimination (Instituto Nacional Contra la Discriminación). Despite the early hopes of activists following Rosario's adoption of an anti-discrimination clause including sexual orientation last year, transvestites (travestis), transsexuals and gays in Rosario continue to be subjected to harassment and abuse by police, arbitrary arrests and sexual coercion.

According to the report, the Morality Brigade of the Police and the Second Commissary in Rosario are the principal perpetrators of these flagrant violations of human rights, with the collusion of the Justices for this province. Travestis are detained for 20 days solely for cross-dressing, 30 days for charges of prostitution, and are forced to undergo HIV testing under threat of charges of attempted homicide. Approximately 150 travestis are arrested every month and are detained in harsh prison conditions that endanger their health and safety.

Police continue their violent and arbitrary detentions with total impunity, while members of Colectivo Arco Iris try repeatedly to meet with both city and county governors to no avail. The Rosario's police chief has publicly recognized the gravity of the situation against sexual minorities.

The violence has escalated to the point where there have been four murders of travestis in the last ten months. Particularly egregious was the July 29th knifing of Marcela (Sergio Alberto Arias). Both the police and the ambulance that arrived at the scene of her attack refused to attend her and left her to die. The Minister of Government for the Province Dr. Rosua has to this day refused every request to meet with Colectivo Arco Iris or to accept their denouncements.

Activists urge you to write letters denouncing the continued persecution of travestis and demanding the repeal of articles 78 (offenses to modesty) , 81(scandalous prostitution) and 87 (cross-dressing) of the Code of Faults (Código de Faltas) for the province and the law for investigations (ley de averiguación de antecedentes), all of which are used to continue the systematic persecution, abuse and violation of the human rights of travestis and gays and which are in direct opposition to the anti-discrimination ordinance adopted by the city.

Please urge the authorities to look immediately into the facts surrounding the murder of Marcela.

Ing. Jorge Obeid
Gobernador de Santa Fe
Casa de Gobierno Provincial
3 de Febrero y San Jerónimo
(3000) Ciudad de Santa Fe
Argentina
Fax: 54-42-591067
Dr. Rosua
Ministro de Gobierno de Santa Fe
3 de Febrero y San Jerónimo
(3000) Ciudad de Santa Fe
Argentina
Fax: 54-42-596147
Dr. Hermes Binner
Intendente Municipal de Rosario
Municipalidad de Rosario
Buenos Aires 702
(2000) Ciudad de Rosario
Argentina
Fax 54-41-802344
Email: binner@rosario.gov.ar
Colectivo Arco Iris
Casilla de Correo 208 C.Central
(2000) Rosario
Argentina
Fax: 54-41-470268
Email: arcoiris@interactive.com.ar