Washington, D.C., May 10, 2011 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in Mexico of Quetzalcóatl Leija Herrera, who was president of the Center for Studies and Projects for Integral Human Development (CEPRODEHI) and worked to defend and promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex persons (LGBTI) in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero.

According to the information the IACHR has received, Quetzalcóatl Leija had participated in promoting the “Law of Societies of Coexistence” before the Legislature of the Local Congress; advocated for the “Bill to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination in Guerrero”; reported to the authorities 16 cases allegedly involving homophobia-related crimes; and organized six gay-pride marches in the state of Guerrero, among other activities to defend the rights of LGBTI persons. The information received indicates that the body of the human rights activist was found in the early morning hours of May 4, 2011, next to the Old Palace of Justice of Chilpancingo, with a blow to his head that had disfigured part of his face. (more…)

 

On 9 May 2011, the Commissioner for Human Rights has published a press release about the publication of the report following his visit to Armenia from 18 to 21 January 2011. The report focuses on human rights issues related to the March 2008 events, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, and the human rights situation in the army.

 

Washington, D.C., April 25, 2011—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder in Mexico of human rights defender Javier Torres Cruz, a member of the Organization of Campesino Ecologists of the Sierra de Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán. The IACHR urges the Mexican State to investigate and legally clarify this crime, and punish the perpetrators and masterminds.

According to the information received by the IACHR, on April 18, 2011, Javier Torres Cruz was killed by armed men near his community of La Morena—located in the municipality of Petatlán, in the Mexican state of Guerrero—allegedly because of his activities to defend the right to a healthy environment in the Sierra de Petatlán. The information received also indicates that his brother Felipe Torres, who was with him at the time the events occurred, was seriously injured.

The Inter-American Commission has received information about alleged threats, acts of harassment, and attacks suffered by Javier Torres Cruz and several of his family members since 2007. The information receive alleges that on December 3, 2008, Torres Cruz was detained illegally by soldiers of the Mexican Army, and that these soldiers reportedly turned him over to other individuals who subjected him to torture for several days. Javier Torres Cruz reported this situation to the Guerrero State Commission for the Defense of Human Rights and to the Office of the Public Prosecutor. (more…)

 

GENEVA (15 April 2011) –UN human rights experts* on Friday denounced the rising death toll and brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders in Syria despite the Government’s promises of reforms and consultations to end the 48-year-old emergency rule.

The experts noted that there were many underlying grievances that led to recent protests, including deep-seated corruption, injustice and discrimination, the lack of consultation, participation, and accountability. Political reforms, accompanied by economic and social reforms are urgent and critical. They urged the authorities to immediately stop the repression and engage in a meaningful, inclusive and transparent dialogue to implement reforms.

“Firing on peaceful crowds attending protests or funerals is by no means justified,” stressed Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions. “Live ammunition is being used outside the prescribed limits and in clear violation of international law. Firearms may only be used in self-defence or in the defence of others.” Citing reports that people are now taking up arms to retaliate against law enforcement officials, Heyns warned that “this can easily escalate into widespread violence.” (more…)