14. In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the topic of gender-related killings of women whether they occur in the family or the community or are perpetrated or condoned by the State. Globally, the prevalence of different manifestations of such killings is increasing, and a lack of accountability for such crimes is the norm. Terms such as femicide, feminicide, honour killings and crimes of passion, among others, have been used to define such killings.

8. Killings as a result of sexual orientation and gender identity

71. Gender-based killing due to sexual orientation and gender identity is a phenomenon that has been recently, albeit insufficiently, documented. Although limited statistics are available, civil society reports suggest that violence, motivated by hatred and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity, is a daily reality for many. It is “characterized by levels of serious physical violence that in some cases exceed those present in other types of hate crimes”. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex and queer persons (LGBTIQ), and also activists working in this sector, are targeted because they do not conform to stereotypes of gender sexuality and/or identity, thus becoming victims of homophobic crimes.

72. Manifestations of violence, such as abuse of police power, sexual violence in prisons and murders fuelled by hate, as well as several kinds of discrimination, persist. As academics have noted, there is a paradox in the advancement in the protection of individuals’ sexual rights on the one hand, and the increasing escalation of homophobic crimes on the other. In this sense, LGBTIQ persons, including women, are especially vulnerable to many kinds of violent crime, from killings in private homes to killings in public spaces known as “social cleansing”, extortion by blackmailers who threaten to reveal their identity to the public, and abuse from officials, especially the police, who sometimes arrest them.

73. In the case of South Africa, the recent murders of Black lesbian women demonstrates the multiple and intersecting factors that have led to an escalation in homophobic attacks, despite progressive constitutional provisions preventing discrimination on the basis of, among others, race, gender and sexual orientation.

74. The Human Rights Council has expressed its concern about the increasing violence and killings of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and the impunity surrounding these crimes. More recently, the Council passed a groundbreaking resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

75. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has held several hearings in the last three years regarding the situation of violence and discrimination against sexual minorities in some countries of the Caribbean and Central and South America. In these countries, civil society organizations have expressed their concern regarding increasing incidents of homophobic crimes.

76. Reports of homicides of “trans” people reflect that 93 murders were recorded in the first half of 2010. Another project has revealed that between January 2008 and September 2011 there were 681 reports of murdered “trans” people in 50 countries.


A. International human rights law and jurisprudence

93. The Committee against Torture has stated that the definition of torture includes the principle of non-discrimination on any grounds, including gender, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Thus, States are obliged to protect certain minority or marginalized individuals or populations especially at risk of torture, and should ensure such protection by fully prosecuting and punishing all acts of violence and abuse and ensuring implementation of other positive measures of prevention and protection. The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 17/19, requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a study documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Link to the complete extract: Report-SR Violence against Women-extract-2012-eng

Link to full text of the report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Women/A.HRC.20.16_En.pdf

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