Perú: Serenazgo Officers Involved in Two Other Incidents of Brutality

RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM DISCRIMINATION
RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM TORTURE, CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT
RIGHT TO LIBERTY AND SECURITY OF PERSON
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY
RIGHTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Summary

On December 14, 2005 IGLHRC denounced the attack on gay bars and transvestite sex workers by the Serenazgo – a security force in the city of Lima whose legal authority is not yet clearly defined by the law. Since then, two more attacks have taken place: On January 9, 2006, a transvestite sex worker named Tatiana was severely beaten by 8 Serenazgo officers, who also stole her money. On January 28, 2006 Serenazgo officers broke-up a political gathering in support of trans activist Belissa Andia –who is running for a seat at the National Congress- and verbally and physically assaulted members of the crowd. It is worth noting that Belissa Andia and her organization–Claveles Rojos- have been leading a campaign against Serenazgo brutality.

ACTION

IGLHRC joins activists from Raíz Diversidad Sexual and Belissa Andía, Trans Secretariat for the International Lesbian, Trans, and Gay Association –Latin America and the Caribbean (ILTGA-LAC) in asking you to write letters denouncing these attacks and demanding an end to the intimidation and aggression perpetrated by the Serenazgo against trans and gay communities in Lima.

Below is a model letter written in Spanish, followed by an English translation. We ask you to send your letter to the authorities listed below in Spanish.

Please send your letters to:

Luís Castañeda Lossio
Alcalde de Lima (Lima Major)
Address: Jr. de la Unión 300 / Jr. Conde de Superunda 177 Cercado de Lima
Email: alcalde@munlima.gob.pe
Dirección Municipal de Seguridad Ciudadana (Citizenship’ Security Department)
Director: Carlos Manuel Asmat Dyer
Address: Jr Conde Superunda 167 Oficina 401 Cercado de Lima
Email: dmsgc@munlima.gob.pe

And please send copies to:

Dra. Beatríz Merino.
Obusman
Email: defensor@defensoria.gob.pe
A.P. Nº 4403, Lima 100, Perú
Raíz Diversidad Sexual
Email: raizdiversidad@yahoo.es
Belissa Andía -ILTGA LAC and Colectivo Claveles Rojos.
Email: belissa@runa.org.pe

MODEL LETTER Spanish version (see English below)

Estimados Señores:

Escribimos a ustedes con objeto de expresar nuestra preocupación por la campaña contra las personas travestis y gays que continúa llevando a cabo la Dirección Municipal de Seguridad Ciudadana de Lima Metropolitana (“Serenazgo”).

Anteriormente ya denunciamos las agresiones sufridas el 19 de noviembre de 2005 por la travesti Nicole y el 30 de noviembre por los clientes del pub gay ubicado en el Jirón Manuel del Pino, que se suman a los hechos de violencia ocurridos el 22 de julio del mismo año contra un grupo de gays en Plaza San Martín y contra un grupo de travestis en la Avenida Petit Thouars.

Evidentemente alentados por la impunidad de la que gozan, los efectivos del Serenazgo continúan atacando a travestis y gays. El 31 de diciembre, la travesti Tatiana fue golpeada por ocho efectivos del Serenazgo en la Avenida Arequipa (cuadras 10 y 14), que también le robaron el dinero y el teléfono celular que llevaba consigo. Los golpes –propinados en la zona posterior de los muslos en la que tiene aplicación de siliconas- le produjeron una “celulitis abcesada” y Tatiana se encuentra aún bajo tratamiento, con su movilidad impedida. La denuncia correspondiente ha sido asentada en la comisaría de Petit Thouars y Estado Nacional. Cabe señalar que Tatiana ha sido una de las travestis que ante la justicia y los medios de comunicación ha denunciado las agresiones del Serenazgo contra sus compañeras.

El 28 de enero, los efectivos del Serenazgo interrumpieron una reunión de apoyo a la candidatura de Belissa Andia al Congreso (por el Frente Amplio de Izquierda) que estaba llevándose a cabo en la Plaza San Martín. Una vez más, utilizaron perros para amedrentar a las y los activistas, que fueron insultadas/os, golpeadas/os y obligadas/os a suspender el acto y retirarse de la plaza. También cabe señalar aquí que Belissa Andia y el grupo que ella lidera –Colectivo Claveles Rojos- han sido quienes han llevado adelante las denuncias y la campaña contra las arbitrariedades del Serenazgo.

Consideramos que el trabajo de garantizar la seguridad de la ciudad de Lima que está a vuestro cargo puede perfectamente realizarse sin llevar a cabo actos de violencia, y sin agredir a determinadas comunidades en particular, por el solo hecho de ser quienes son, lo que constituye trato discriminatorio. El Perú es signatario de varios tratados internacionales de Derechos Humanos –entre ellos el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos, la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos y la
Carta Andina de Protección y Promoción a los Derechos Humanos- todos los cuales condenan esta clase de actos y obligan a los representantes del estado peruano a no cometerlos y a sancionar a quienes los cometan. Consideramos también que quienes denuncian las arbitrariedades merecen protección especial.

Solicitamos a ustedes lo siguiente:

  • Realizar una investigación exhaustiva sobre los hechos denunciados por Claveles Rojos, que deberá comenzar por convocar a las/os activistas, así como a la Defensoría del Pueblo (que ya ha aceptado las denuncias presentadas sobre este tema) a que se reúnan con ustedes y les presenten los hechos.
  • Proteger debidamente a las personas que han denunciado actos de violencia cometidos por agentes del Serenazgo
  • Sancionar debidamente a los efectivos que resulten culpables de haber ejercido violencia y/o trato discriminatorio contra travestis y homosexuales en estos hechos.
  • Hacer públicas las atribuciones, responsabilidades y derechos del Serenazgo, de manera tal que toda la ciudadanía pueda conocerlas y exigir su cumplimiento por parte de los funcionarios involucrados.
  • Convocar a la ciudadanía –y especialmente a los grupos organizados que trabajan con las poblaciones objeto de discriminación y maltrato en la ciudad- para aportar sus puntos de vista acerca de cómo podrían conjugarse la protección ciudadana con el respeto irrestricto a los derechos humanos por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad en Lima.

Quedamos a la espera de su respuesta y de sus acciones futuras en este tema.

Cordialmente,

(nombre, organización y dirección)

English version:

Dear Sirs,

We write to you to express our deep concern about the systemic abuse perpetrated against trans and gay people by the officers of the Dirección Municipal de Seguridad Ciudadana de Lima Metropolitana (“Serenazgo”).

A few months ago, we denounced the abuses perpetrated on November 19, 2005 against a transvestite named Nicole and on November 30 against the patrons of the pub Jirón Manuel del Pino, as well as earlier incidents of brutality that took place on July 22, 2005 against a group of gay men in Plaza San Martín and a group of transvestites in Avenida Petit Thouars.

No doubt encouraged by the impunity they are enjoying, Serenazgo officers continue to attack gay men and transvestites. On December 31, 2005, a transvestite named Tatiana was physically assaulted by eight Serenazgo Officers in Avenida Arequipa (blocks 10 and 14), who also stole her money and cell phone. She was beaten on the back of her thighs, where she has silicone implants, and as result is suffering from cellulitical abscess – the destruction of tissue accompanied by infection- and has her mobility restricted. Tatiana reported the incident at Police Station Petit Thouars at Estadio Nacional. It is worth noting that Tatiana has been publicly denouncing Serenazgo brutality against her community within the judicial system and in the media.

On January 28, 2006 Serenazgo officers broke-up a public meeting held in Plaza San Martin to support the campaign of Belissa Andia -who is running for Congress on a Frente Amplio de Izquierda ticket. Dogs were used to threaten activists and insults were shouted at them. Activists were also shoved around, forced to call off the meeting, and leave the square. It is once again worth noting that Belissa Andía and the group she leads – Colectivo Claveles Rojos- had been publicly denouncing Serenazgo brutality at the national and international levels.

We believe that it is your duty to protect the population of Lima without perpetrating acts of violence that target and discriminate against trans and gay communities. Peruvian authorities are obligated to uphold the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights and the Andean Chart to Protect and Promote Human Rights which clearly condemn the abuses documented above. We hold all state actors accountable for respecting and protecting the freedom of expression of the activists denouncing this current spate of brutality and demand that you take affirmative actions to ensure their safety.

We also demand that you:

  • Launch a through investigation of the facts brought forth by Claveles Rojos. This investigation must begin with a consultation with local activists who have witnessed the brutality.
  • Punish those officers who are found responsible for violent and/or discriminatory treatment against trans and gay individuals in the course of these events.
  • Provide adequate protection to those denouncing Serenazgo brutality.
  • Make Serenazgo’s mandate, responsibilities and limitations public, in such a way that citizens are made aware of them and hold the Serenazgo accountable for their actions.
  • Call on citizens –and in particular organized groups working with populations that are likely to be targets of discrimination and abuse in the city- to share their ideas about ways to harmonize the demands for security with full respect for human rights on the part of Serenazgo officers in Lima.

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

Sincerely,

(Name, organization and address)

BACKGROUND

Please see the IGLHRC Action Alert issued on December 14, 2005, for information on the earlier incidents mentioned above.

On December 31, 2005 at approximately 2 am in the morning, Tatiana was doing sex work with other transvestites along Avenida Arequipa, blocks 10 and 14. Eight Serenazgo officers arrived in a van and started chasing trans sex workers away. They managed to grab Tatiana and immediately took all the money she had earned that night as well as her cell phone. Then, the officers ripped her clothes off and left her naked. They beat her repeatedly with sticks, particularly on the back of her thighs.

On Monday, January 2, 2006 Tatiana submitted a complaint to the local Police Station in Petit Thouars at Estadio Nacional. A police doctor certified her injuries, diagnosed one of the injuries as “cellulitical abscess”. She was treated with antibiotics and then submitted into surgery in order to drain the infection.

Belissa Andía and Raíz Diversidad Sexual suspect that Tatiana was intentionally picked up for harrassment and abuse as punishment for her public denouncements of the brutality perpetrated by Serenazgo officers.

In April 2006 there will be elections in Peru. Belissa Andia –a leading trans activist in the country who is also the ILGTA-LAC (International Lesbian Gay and Trans Association- Latin America)Trans Secretary, has been elected to join the list of candidates running for election for the National Parliament with the Frente Amplio de Izquierda, a left-wing political coalition.

On January 28, 2006 at 10.30 pm a group of GLBT and left-wing activists were holding a meeting at Plaza San Martin on behalf of Belissa’s candidacy and distributing leaflets to passers-by. Uniformed Serenazgo officers interrupted the meeting and started shoving activists, ordering them to leave the Plaza and refused to provide any reasons for their demands. Officers threatened activists with unleashing their dogs and also insulted them.

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 Interamerican 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 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: UDHR (Articles 2 and 7), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – ICESCR- (Article 2), ICCPR (Articles 2 and 26) and IAHRC (Articles 1 and 24).

The right to be free from arbitrary arrest or detention is protected by the ICCPR (Article 9.1) and by the IACHR (Article 7.3)

Right to freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is protected by the UDHR (Article 5), and by the ICCPR (Article 7) and by the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights (Article 5.2).

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

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

Rights of Human Rights Defenders: The UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (G.A. res.53/144, U.N. Doc. U.N. Doc. A/RES/53/144 - 1999) affirms: "Everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be effectively protected under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by omission, attributable to States which result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms" (Article 12.2). And it adds that, "In this connection, everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts attributable to States that result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms" (Article 12.3).

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 Procedures Code for the country. It recognizes discrimination based on sexual orientation as a protected category 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 ICCPR 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.

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Email: iglhrc@iglhrc.org
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