I: Torture based on sexual identity -- an unacknowledged global shame

----- Original Message -----
From: ainews <ainews at amnesty.org>
To: <amnesty-l at oil.ca>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 5:04 PM
Subject: Torture based on sexual identity -- an unacknowledged global shame

> * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
> International *
> 22 June 2001
> ACT 79/006/2001
> 102/01
> Tortured, ill-treated, sexually assaulted, forcibly subjected to
> medical or psychiatric treatment, forced to flee their home
> countries in terror -- the world over, lesbians, gay men,
> bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are at particular risk of
> human rights violations because of their sexual identity, Amnesty
> International said today.
>      In a new report launched today the organization describes
> the plight of the thousands of people who are tortured and
> ill-treated because their real or perceived sexuality is seen as
> threatening social order. The report includes documented examples
> from some 30 countries, but the full extent of the problem is
> undoubtedly much larger. In over 70 countries same-sex relations
> are considered a crime, and in some instances they incur the
> death penalty.
>      "Despite being a widespread occurrence across continents
> and cultures, the torture and ill-treatment suffered by LGBT
> people  is surrounded by a conspiracy of silence," Amnesty
> International said, stressing that this is due to the social
> stigma often attached to homosexuality and transsexuality.
>      Generalised tolerance of abuses against LGBT people, fear
> of retaliation and reluctance by the victims to gain exposure,
> are some of the factors contributing to this silence. Incidents
> of sexual identity-based ill-treatment remain largely unreported
> and under investigated, and those responsible are seldom brought
> to justice.
>      Alongside the heightened risk of torture and
> ill-treatment LGBT people run at the hands of state agents in
> police stations and prisons, they are also vulnerable to physical
> and psychological violence -- often amounting to torture -- in
> the community and even in the family. The prevalence of sexism
> and homophobia in society means that lesbians are at particular
> risk of abuse, including being forced into marriage or sexual
> relationships with men.
>      "While some governments take an active role in fuelling
> homophobic violence in society through inflammatory statements
> and institutionalised discrimination, many more share
> responsibility for it through lack of action," Amnesty
> International said.
>      "To combat this phenomenon, a clear message must come
> from the authorities -- the torture and ill-treatment of people
> on the basis of their sexual orientation cannot be tolerated, all
> instances of it will be properly investigated and those
> responsible brought to justice," the organization continued.
>      "Discrimination -- be it based on sexual identity,
> gender, race, ethnicity or any other factor -- provides a very
> fertile ground for the persistence and proliferation of torture,"
> Amnesty International said.
>      "Fighting torture based on sexual identity is an integral
> part of the overall struggle towards a truly torture-free world,"
> added the organization, whose million-strong worldwide membership
> is carrying out a global campaign to eradicate torture and
> ill-treatment.
>      Amnesty International supports the efforts of the many
> movements which have emerged throughout the world to break the
> wall of silence surrounding human rights violations against LGBT
> people.
>      The organization also welcomed the recent initiative by
> the special mechanisms of the UN Commission on Human Rights --
> including the Special Rapporteur on Torture -- to encourage the
> submission of information on human rights abuses related to
> sexual identity. "However, UN human rights bodies should give
> more attention to LGBT issues," Amnesty International said.
> Read the report: Crimes of hate, conspiracy of silence: Torture
> and ill-treatment based on sexual identity:
> http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/ACT400162001?OpenDocument&of=T
> Audio/Video:
> Amnesty International's Rafael Barca (RealVideo):
> English:
> http://tv.oneworld.net/amnesty/lgbt_english.ram
> Spanish:
> http://tv.oneworld.net/amnesty/lgbt_spanish.ram
> Comedian Eddie Izzard on the case of Vanessa Lorena Ledesma
> (English):
> http://tv.oneworld.net/amnesty/lgbt_vanessa_lorena_ledesma.ram
> Audio testimony from Christine, whose case is featured in the
> report:
> http://tv.oneworld.net/amnesty/lgbt_christine.ram
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