Activists launch national GLBT rights campaign

Human rights organizations launched Peru’s first national campaign against discrimination of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transvestites (GLBT) and sex workers on Monday. The campaign is organized by the GLBT and Sex Workers Round Table, the National System of Community Defense (SINDECO), the Platform for Vulnerable Communities and the Homosexual Movement of Lima (MHOL), according to the campaign’s website.

Activists will broadcast their message with advertisements on buses, posters on city streets, short films, informative fairs, public marches and meetings with politicians. Twelve regions are participating in the campaign.

During the opening ceremony, MHOL Executive Director, Ruth Ramos, said ¨the discrimination and social stigma that thousands of lesbians, transvestites, gays, bisexuals and sex workers live with daily are unresolved topics. The State must confront them with clear public policies that will permit the improvement of the situation and open a path of respect, promotion, and defense of the community’s rights.¨

Members of the community are regular victims of hate crimes and police intimidation, according to a 2005 MHOL report. MHOL legal representative, Rafael Ynga, told daily La República there have been 500 registered attacks motivated by the victims sexual orientation this year. ¨Unfortunately, of this total, only two have been brought to justice. We have little credibility with the National Police and Judicial Branch.¨

State discrimination is well documented as well. On October 16, Peru’s Congressional Commission on Foreign Relations drew criticism by restricting the rights of GLBT’s in the Ibero-American Convention on Youth Rights. Aprista Congreswoman Luciana León, told MOHL President Jorge Bracamonte ¨I will not rest until the Convention returns to the Commission of Foreign Relations… and they remove the restrictions.¨

The campaign will also be used to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and its connection to discrimination and social stigma. According to USAID, 82,000 Peruvians were living with HIV/AIDS in 2003.

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