Perú: Stop Harassment Against Gays and Travestis By Officers From Citizens' Security Department in Lima

The Citizens’ Security Department (known as “Serenazgo”) –a section of the Lima City government created this year whose functions are not yet clearly established by law- is harassing gay bars and trans sex workers in the city. Local activists report a broad range of incidents that include filming patrons of gay bars, severe beatings and attacks by Rotweiler dogs against gays and trans people in public spaces. Local authorities have not yet replied to activists’ requests to take action on this issue, with the exception of the City Ombudsman office that has accepted the complaints.

ACTION

IGLHRC joins activists from local organization Raíz Diversidad Sexual and Belissa Andía, Trans Secretariat for the International Lesbian, Trans and Gay Association –Latin America and the Caribbean (ILTGA-LAC) to ask for urgent letters to the authorities demanding that they stop intimidatory and aggressive behavior by Serenazgo officers against trans and gay communities in Lima.

You will find a model letter below. We suggest that you send your letter 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 in Spanish

Estimados Señores:

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

El pasado 19 de Noviembre Nicole y su compañera, dos personas travestis, fueron agredidas ferozmente por efectivos del Serenazgo, en la zona de los Jirones Chota con Ilo. Cuando Nicole logra zafarse de los agresores y corre, estos le sueltan un perro Rottweiler, que al alcanzarla y abalanzarse sobre ella le ocasiona serias lesiones.

El pasado 30 de noviembre se organizó un nuevo operativo contra bares frecuentados por personas gays. En horas de la noche, representantes de la Municipalidad de Lima acompañados de cámaras de televisión irrumpieron en un conocido pub de ambiente, ubicado en el Jirón Manuel del Pino, en el límite entre el Cercado de Lima y el distrito de Lince. Supuestamente lo hicieron para verificar las licencias de funcionamiento del local, pero sin embargo aprovecharon la ocasión para intimidar y filmar a los concurrentes.

Estas acciones no son hechos aislados sino una práctica sistemática de abuso contra la población gay y travesti en esa zona. El 22 de julio pasado, en Plaza San Martín, el Serenazgo usó perros para atacar a un grupo de gays y ese mismo día otros efectivos del mismo cuerpo propinaron golpizas a personas trans en estado de prostitución que transitaban por la Av. Petit Thouars del Cercado de Lima, dejando a varias de ellas heridas. Una de ellas fue retenida por los efectivos, que la rociaron con gas lacrimógeno. Estos hechos fueron oportunamente denunciados por el grupo Claveles Rojos, sin que hasta la fecha se haya obtenido respuesta a sus reclamos.

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.

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.
  • 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 concern for the campaign against trans and gay people that is being carried on by the officers from Dirección Municipal de Seguridad Ciudadana de Lima Metropolitana (“Serenazgo”).

On November 19, 2005, two trans women – one of them called Nicole- were attacked by Serenazgo officers –who had police dogs with them- in the intersection of Jirón Chota and Jirón Ilo. When Nicole managed to break free from the officers and run, they unleashed a Rotweiler dog against her. The dog jumped on Nicole, causing her severe injuries.

On November 30, officers from Serenazgo –bringing TV cameras with them- broke into a well known gay pub, located at Jirón Manuel del Pino, in the border between the jurisdictions Cercado de Lima and Lince. With the excuse of checking the pub’s license for operation, they harassed, intimidated and filmed the pub’s patrons.

These are not isolated incidents but reflect a systematic pattern of abuse against gay and trans people in the area. On July 22, in Plaza San Martin, Serenazgo officers also used police dogs to attack a group of gay men, and on the same day other officers also from Serenazgo severely beat some trans sex workers in Petit Thouars Ave., Cercado de Lima, and left them severely injured. One of the trans sex workers was grabbed by officers and tear gas sprayed on her. Local organization Claveles Rojos denounced the fact to you, without obtaining any response up to now.

We believe that it is perfectly possible for you to fulfill your duty of protecting the Lima population without perpetrating acts of violence and targeting specific communities, for the mere fact of being who they are, what constitutes discriminatory treatment. Peru has ratified several international human rights treaties – like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights and the Andean Chart to Protect and Promote Human Rights –that condemn this kind of behavior and bind representatives from the Peruvian state to not indulge in them as well as to punish those who do.

Thus, we demand that you

  • Launch a through investigation on the facts denounced by Claveles Rojos that must start by calling local activists to meet with you and present you with the facts.
  • Punish those officers who are found responsible for violent and/or discriminatory treatment against trans and gay individuals in the course of these events.
  • To make Serenazgo’s mandate, responsibilities and limitations public, in such a way that citizens are aware of them and Serenazgo can be held accountable.
  • To call citizens –and in particular organized groups working with population that are likely to be targets of discrimination and abuse in the city- to share with you their ideas about how to better harmonize citizens security with full respect for human rights on the part of Serenazgo officers in Lima.

Looking forwards to your answer and your future actions on this regards.

Yours truly,

(Name, organization and address)

BACKGROUND

After being attacked by Serenazgo officers and their dog, Nicole submitted a complaint at Alfonso Ugarte police station. The officer in-charge, Mr. Victor Garcia Salazar, refused to accept the complaint for hours, claiming that if she had been beaten by the dog she could put him at risk and demanding a doctor’s certificate in order to accept the complaint. Nicole had to resort to the Prosecutor Office to finally have her complaint accepted.

Belissa Andia and Colectivo Claveles Rojos interviewed those attacked by Serenazgo on July 22 and took pictures that show the results of the severe beatings they were subjected to.

Belissa Andía y el Colectivo Claveles Rojos se entrevistaron con las afectadas pudiendo tomar fotos de las heridas y contusiones producto de la brutal golpiza para promover acciones de denuncia . A letter was sent to Lima Major, Mr. Luis Castañeda Lossio, demanding an stop to these human rights violations, but there has been no replied. Activists submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman Office who has urged the City Major Office to reply. Documentation about the attack suffered by Nicole has been added to this complaint.

The current local government represents extreme right wing catholic groups (Unidad Nacional- Solidaridad Nacional) related to organizations like Opus Dei. Serenazgo is not a police division. There is no law regulating its operation yet. It has been created by the City Major as an emergency measure to provide security to Lima population. Serenazgo staff has not been trained and, as there is no law that regulates their behavior, they assume there are no limitations to it either. They are not allowed to carry fireamrs, but they have been provided with dogs, sticks and video cameras. Local activists consider all these to be illegal, as nowhere it is written that Serenazgo officers are allowed to grab, beat, or tear-gas people. They state that the gay and trans population in Lima is defenseless against the homophobia of these untrained and “unleashed” officers.

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 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).

The right to be free from arbitrary arrest or detention is protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 9.1) and by the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights (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 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 Procedures Code for they 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 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
c/o HRW
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
NY, NY 10118
t. 1-212-216-1278
f. 1-212-216-1876
Email: iglhrc@iglhrc.org
http://www.iglhrc.org

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE NETWORK (ERN):

To receive our action alerts via email (saving printing costs, postage, and trees), visit our website http://www.iglhrc.org and select "Action Alerts."

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.