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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, E/CN.4/2002/74, January 9, 2002

Executive summary

[…] In her report, the Special Rapporteur also discusses the situation of a number of specific categories of victims, who are particularly vulnerable or have been directly targeted for extrajudicial execution. These groups include human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists, demonstrators, members of national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, internally displaced people, women, children, members of indigenous communities and persons exposed to extrajudicial killings and death threats because of their sexual orientation. […]

F. Deaths due to acts of omission

42. In Jamaica, at St. Catherine’s District Prison and at the Kingston General Penitentiary in August 1997, 16 prisoners were reportedly killed by other inmates in attacks targeting detainees known or believed to be homosexuals. The incidents allegedly occurred after guards had left the premises in protest against insinuations that they had had sexual relations with prisoners. It was alleged that no action had been taken against those responsible for the attacks.[63]

F. Violations of the right to life of members of sexual minorities

62. The Special Rapporteur has continued to receive serious reports of persons having been subjected to death threats or extrajudicially killed because of their sexual orientation. In this connection, she sent urgent appeals to the Government of Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico. A communication was also sent to the leadership of the province of “Puntland” in Somalia.

63. The urgent appeals sent to the Government of Ecuador related to death threats targeting members of non-governmental organizations active in the defence of the rights and freedoms of sexual minorities and in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS. In March and April 2001, members of the organizations “Amigos por La Vida”, “La Organización Pro Derechos Humanos Quitogay” and “La Comunidad Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Human Rights Organizations” (LGBT) reportedly received electronic mail messages in which they were told they would be killed.[64]  Similarly, the Special Rapporteur wrote to the Government of Argentina following reports that, on 17 February 2001 in Córdoba, four uniformed police officers entered with force and without showing a warrant the apartment of a member of the non-governmental organization “Asociación Travestis Unidas de Córdoba”. Reportedly, the police had threatened to torture the person concerned to death. It is alleged that the division for internal investigation of the Córdoba police had failed to open an inquiry into the case, despite being notified of the incident. In its reply to the Special Rapporteur’s letter, the Government of Argentina stated that investigations into the case had been initiated and that the relevant authorities had taken measures to ensure the safety and integrity of the person concerned.

65. The Special Rapporteur firmly believes that the death penalty, if it is to be prescribed, should be strictly limited to the most serious crimes, which have stood the test of time, without discrimination against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. In this connection, on 22 February 2001, she sent an urgent appeal to the leadership of the province of “Puntland” in Somalia, following reports that two women had been sentenced to death by a court in Bossasso for “exercising unnatural behaviour”. (…)

10. The right to life and sexual orientation

148. The Special Rapporteur encourages Governments to renew their efforts aimed at protecting the security and the right to life of persons belonging to sexual minorities. Acts of murder and death threats should be promptly and thoroughly investigated, regardless of the sexual orientation of the person or persons concerned. Measures should include policies and programmes geared towards overcoming hatred and prejudice against homosexuals, and sensitizing public officials and the general public to crimes and acts of violence directed against members of sexual minorities.

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Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1.  Please note that this case is also mentioned in the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, E/CN.4/2002/74/Add.2,  May 8, 2002, para. 370 and in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1,  March 14, 2002, para. 829.
  2.  Please  note  that  this  case  is  also  mentioned  in  the report  of the Special  Representative  of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders,E/CN.4/2002/106, February 27, 2002, para. 146.