March 26th, 2011
San Francisco, California, United States of America
To The President of Brazil: Ms. Dilma Rousseff
To The Ministry of Human Rights: Ms. Maria do Rosario
To The Conselho Nacional de Combate à Discriminação
To The Governor of The State of São Paulo: Mr. Geraldo Alckmin
To The Delegacia de Crimes Raciais e Delitos de Intolerância (Decradi), do Departamento de
Homicídios e Proteção à Pessoa (DHPP) da Polícia Civil de São Paulo: Margarette Barreto
We, the below signed organizations, are writing from the United States to express to you our utmost concern over the ongoing wave of violence against the LGBTQI community in São Paulo, Brazil. Further, we would like to express our most forceful condemnation of the inaction on the part of various layers of government officials to protect this population.
There have been 8 cases of homophobic assaults involving 10 victims from the LGBTQI community in São Paulo in the last 4 months alone. This is compounded by the disturbing news of assassinations of transgendered people in the greater São Paulo and Campinas areas during the last year. It is well documented that there are active groups of homophobic skinheads and fascists who are systematically targeting São Paulo’s LGBTQI population. There has been little or no response from the police or city officials to these assaults. The violence continues to escalate in the absence of government action.
Early Wednesday morning (March 23rd, 2011), Guilherme Augusto de Assis Rodrigues, an important student organizer and well-known activist in the queer rights movement, was brutally assaulted by four fascists on Rua Augusta, after witnessing the group harassing another same sex couple.
It is important to understand that this attack comes only one month after Guilherme spoke at the March Against Homophobia calling for the passage of law PLC-122/2006, a law that would make homophobia a legally recognized crime. This march was organized by the LGBTQI community in protest against the severely negligent response of the police and government officials in the face of the recent wave of
Unfortunately, Guilherme’s case was no different. Police arrived on the scene and transported Guilherme, who was injured and in need of medical attention, and the assailants to the police station. At the station, once it became clear that the attack was a hate crime motivated by homophobia, the police strongly dissuaded Guilherme from filing a report and made it clear that they would offer him no protection from retaliation. In the police station and while still in custody, the assailants continued to threaten him, telling him that they intended to target him and to assault him again – the police refused to intervene. Finally, the police failed to ensure Guilherme’s safety and put him at further risk by refusing to provide him a ride home.
The negligence of the police and their refusal to recognize acts of homophobia as a crime only serves to reinforce the trauma of the assault for the victim through fostering a climate of impunity. However, it is more than the police who are complicit in this crime. Homophobia is a serious problem in Brazil, a country where one gay person is killed every two days as a result of prejudice, Yet the Dilma government has not taken measures to make homophobia a crime or to guarantee the LGBTQI community equal rights. The federal government shares as well the responsibility for this crime.
We demand the police immediately investigate the officers involved in this case and take action against them, up to and including their removal, and that the perpetrators be arrested and charged. Further, we demand the Dilma administration pass Law PLC-122/2006.
No more impunity!
La Voz de los Trabajadores/LITCI