IACHR Calls on States to Prevent Murders and All Other Forms of Violence Against Trans and Gender Diverse Persons

January 25, 2024

Related links

Contact info

IACHR Press Office

[email protected]

Distribution List

Subscribe to our distribution list

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is concerned about the violent deaths of trans and gender diverse persons in the Americas reported in 2023 and in early 2024. Violence against trans persons is a clear violation of the fundamental principles of human rights. The current situation demands that States take urgent, concrete measures to prevent discrimination and violence against trans and gender diverse persons.

According to data provided by civil society, at least six trans women were murdered in Ecuador in the first six months of 2023. In Brazil, at least 98 trans persons were documented to have been murdered over the period October 1, 2022–September 30, 2023. In Colombia, at least 24 trans women were murdered during 2023, based on data that were released in December.

More than 10 women sex workers were murdered in Peru over the period January–February 2024, several of them trans women. In Panama, a particularly cruel beating suffered by a trans woman was reported in August, and a suspect was arrested for it and has since been charged with this crime. In Chile, the IACHR was informed in September of the murder of a trans man whose body was dismembered, while a 16-year-old Colombian trans girl who was a migrant was murdered in Santiago in October. Between November 8 and November 11, the IACHR was informed of the murders of two trans women in Honduras and of two more in Venezuela.

The IACHR condemns violence against LGBTI persons who are human rights defenders. The Commission also condemns the violent deaths in 2023 of trans and gender diverse activists including Diana Zoe López García in Argentina (whose partner confessed the crime before the authorities of competent jurisdiction during judicial proceedings) and Ociel Baena (a judge in the Aguascalientes Electoral Court in Mexico). In 2024 so far, at least five violent deaths of trans and gender diverse persons have been reported (along with two non-fatal attacks), including cases involving activists, rights defenders, and individuals in leadership positions, like Miriam Ríos Ríos (municipal commissioner of the party Movimiento Ciudadano in Jacona, in the Mexican state of Michoacán) and Samantha Fonseca (an activist and a former candidate in Mexico City).

These are just a few of the cases in States in the Americas that the IACHR has been informed of during 2023 and in the first few weeks of 2024. These crimes are likely to be underreported, due to prejudice. In general, the lack of official data remains worrying and the available figures are mostly issued by civil society. According to the global records held in "Transrespect vs Transfobia"—published by TGEU (Transgender Europe)—321 cases involving murders of trans persons were reported over the period October 1, 2022–September 30, 2023. Of these, 269 reportedly happened in the Americas.

The IACHR has found that violence based on prejudice generally goes unpunished, because few perpetrators tend to be arrested, charged, or tried. The lack of due diligence to address these murders and other acts of violence is a serious omission that serves to perpetuate chronic recurrence and vulnerability for trans and gender diverse persons. States must investigate all human rights violations, and particularly acts of violence against trans and gender diverse persons, with differentiated, intersectional approaches that respect victims' identities.

States must adopt concrete public policies and measures aimed at preventing violence based on gender identity. These measures include adopting legislation and protocols to protect trans persons from discrimination and violence; training public officials in all branches of government; and taking educational and cultural action to end the discrimination that fuels violence. The IACHR stresses how important it is to develop effective mechanisms to monitor and assess compliance with these measures, ensuring accountability and transparency to protect the rights of trans persons.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 020/24

2:50 PM