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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, E/CN.4/2005/60/Add.3, February 22, 2005, Mission to Brazil

A. Discrimination against or further victimization of social groups within the judicial system

24. Lack of access to justice is more of a problem for social groups who suffer from discrimination or marginalization. The Special Rapporteur heard many accounts of court cases involving people from these groups who claimed that the initial violation of their rights had been compounded by their victimization by the judicial system, which reproduces the same discrimination and the same prejudices in the administration of justice. The people most affected are children and young persons, women, people on low incomes, indigenous people, homosexuals, transvestites, the Quilombola, people of African descent, the sick and members of social movements such as landless workers and environmentalists.

28. The victims of sexual exploitation and individuals who prostitute themselves are generally at a high risk of violence and ill-treatment in a climate of blatant impunity for their aggressors. The Special Rapporteur received information from attorneys acting on behalf of such individuals regarding specific cases in which the complaints filed by them had not been processed. Transvestites, transsexuals and homosexuals are also frequently the victims of violence and discrimination. When they turn to the judicial system, they are often confronted with the same prejudices and stereotypes they face in society at large.

29. Nevertheless, there is already in Brazil a body of jurisprudence on issues related to sexual orientation, which has enabled significant progress to be made in recognizing the human rights of lesbians and gays. Although still insufficient, this jurisprudence contains pioneering judgements on issues such as equal treatment in the public sector, employment contracts and family matters.

Link to full text of the report: Mission report-SR Independence Judiciary-Brazil-2005-eng