First case of torture by discrimination against an LGBTI person before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
(Barranquilla, Colombia) The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Americas´ highest human rights court, will consider today for the first time in its history a case of discriminatory torture against an LGBTI person.
The case refers to the sexual violence suffered by Azul Rojas Marín at the hands of members of the National Police of Peru after her arbitrary detention, on 25 February 2008 in Casa Grande (La Libertad). During her detention, the officers verbally assaulted Azul using homophobic expressions (at that time, Azul identified herself as a gay man), took her to a police station, forced her to undress and raped her with a police baton.
Although Azul filed a criminal complaint for rape, abuse of authority and torture with the Peruvian authorities, more than 10 years later those responsible have not been properly prosecuted or punished in Peru.
Azul brought his case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with the legal assistance of the Center for the Promotion and the Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (Promsex), the National Coordinator of Human Rights (CNDDHH) and REDRESS.
The Commission found that because of the nature and manner in which the violence was exercised, there was a particular cruelty connected with how her sexual orientation was perceived by the police officers, so that what happened should be understood as discriminatory torture. It also found that the Peruvian State did not investigate Azul’s complaint with due diligence, with the existing prejudice against LGBTI persons in Peru being an aggravating factor.
The Commission recommended that Peru adopt a series of measures to redress both the material and moral damage suffered by Azul and her mother, including measures of satisfaction, rehabilitation and compensation, including public apologies; a prompt and effective investigation of the facts; and adopt non-repetition measures. The Commission found that the Peruvian State had failed to adopt the proposals for comprehensive reparation ordered in favour of Azul and her mother, so it decided to submit the case to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court on 22 August 2018.
This case presents an historic opportunity for the Peruvian State to eradicate from its institutional practices systematic violence against LGBTI people and for the Court to set an important precedent for the protection of LGBTI people in the region.
The organisations reaffirm their commitment to the defence of Azul’s human rights, including her right to due process.
For more information, please contact:
In UK: Eva Sanchis, Communication Director of REDRESS: [email protected] or +44 (0) 20 77931777.