October 8, 2010
Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) with Boletín Diversidad and VIHDARTE in an urgent call for letters to Peruvian authorities and demand from them: a condemnation of homophobic hate crimes, a full and fair investigation into Alberto Osorio's murder, for all perpetrators to be brought to justice and action to prevent such crimes.
At least 16 other gay or transgender people have been murdered under similar circumstances in Peru since 2009, and we call upon Peruvian authorities to act decisively to prevent such crimes and to protect the Peruvian LGBT community.
On the morning of 20 September 2010, the body of Alberto Osorio, 44, journalist and activist for the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, was found by his mother, Esther Castillo. Mrs. Castillo found her son's body in his apartment in the district of San Martin de Porres in northern Lima. He had been tied to his bed with a cable and bruises on his body indicated that he was beaten before being strangled.
In addition to Alberto Osorio, at least eight other gay or transgender people were murdered in 2010 in similar circumstances, according to Boletín Diversidad, a Peruvian organization that monitors homophobic violence. According to their human rights report, at least another seven gay or trans people were murdered in 2009. These crimes repeat the pattern used in the murder of Alberto Osorio: the perpetrator seduces the victim, enters their home and then beats, kills and robs them.
There is more to these crimes than the sensationalist reports of some in the Peruvian media that, in their accounts of murders of gay and transgender people, portray LGBT victims as immoral instead of focusing on the arbitrary and violent nature of these hate crimes. In the case of Alberto Osorio's death, their speculation included that the murder was revenge for intentional transmission of HIV or was the consequence of sadomasochistic practices gone too far. Rather what is needed is a focus on bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
Very few of the cases of gay men and transgender people who have been murdered over the past year have resulted in criminal prosecution. According to some LGBT activists in Peru, the failure to solve and prosecute these crimes is a result of homophobic bias. In those cases that did result in prosecutions, LGBT organizations maintain that the failure to bring specific charges relating to anti-gay hate crimes has led to weak convictions for the perpetrators. They argue that investigations and criminal charges must take into account the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of the victim as a potential motivation for the crime. Failing to do so allows for the impunity of perpetrators, underscores discrimination in the justice system itself, and leads to further hate crimes against LGBT people.
Alberto Osorio was a journalist and the president of VIHDARTE Centro de Desarollo Participativo Para Los Derechos y La Salud (Center for Participative Development for Health and Rights), a civil society organization he founded in 2001 to defend and promote the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. Alberto Osorio frequently denounced the Peruvian government's neglect and indifference to drug and treatment shortages for people living with HIV/AIDS. As a representative of this community he was appointed member of the national commission on AIDS, Comité Nacional Multisectorial de Lucha contra el SIDA (CONAMUSA).