Washington DC, November 13, 2021
The Coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Transgender, Transsexual, Transvestite, Intersex (LGBTTTI) and Sex Workers organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean that works within the framework of the Organization of American States (OAS), participated in the 51st Regular Session of the General Assembly. This Assembly was hosted by the state of Guatemala, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it took place virtually on November 11 and 12, 2021. Given this context and in the face of persistent restrictions, we object to and reject the limited participation that civil society was given in the General Commission.
Dialogue with Heads of Delegation, Secretary-General, and Civil Society
For the third consecutive year, the Coalition of People Who Practice Sex Work, made up of national organizations of women sex workers, centered in the Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean (RedTraSex), played a key part in the Dialogue before heads of delegation, the Secretary General of the OAS, and civil society.
In this sense, we continue to witness the absence of clear regulations that recognize sex work as work. This omission allows the promotion of institutional violence, including sexual and physical violence, extortion, and illegal detentions. It also reinforces the obstacles that prevent access to basic health services and justice.
Therefore, we demand that public policies be accompanied by an intersectional approach that allows state assistance to reach the most vulnerable and precarious people in this population. This also considers the needs of people who perform sex work, who to a large extent, practice through physical contact.
Our delegation especially emphasized the initiatives necessary for a Renewed America in light of the inordinate impact of the humanitarian and health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on our populations. Institutional and private violence against trans people was highlighted in the situations suffered by our colleague Alejandra Soto, of the Amanda Jofré Union Corporation of Chile, who was sprayed with fuel and set on fire; and Andrea Gonzales, of the Trans Queens of the Night Organization of Guatemala, a member of our Coalition who as such participated in this General Assembly on previous occasions. Andrea was killed in a transphobic attack that has not yet been properly investigated and remains unpunished. For this reason, in our statement, we asked that the State of Guatemala, as the host country, request a minute of silence in the framework of this dialogue as a sign of respect for this Guatemalan human rights defender. However, this request was completely ignored.
It was gratifying to hear the opening of the dialogue prior to the General Assembly of the Secretary General Luis Almagro Lemes referring to the situation of LGBTTTI people and to note that a growing number of allies integrate a message of equality and non-discrimination in their statements. However, groups opposed to the expansion of rights persist in promoting messages that attempt to undermine the rights of historically marginalized populations in the Americas.
Series of dialogues prior to the 51st OAS General Assembly.
As every year, the Coalition has engaged in a series of dialogues with various actors within the Inter-American Human Rights System. We have also invited other coalitions and allied organizations to participate, with special emphasis on the inclusion of CARICOM and Brazilian organizations. The purpose of these dialogues is to exchange reflections on the importance of recognizing more rights for more people. No one is excluded, which reiterates the importance of following through on hemispheric commitments regarding LGBTIQ+ persons and sex workers. The technical assistance that the OAS can give to civil society and States to respect the human rights of all people is key.
This year we met with:
- Paulina Corominas, Coordinator of Civil Society Relations, Department of Social Inclusion of the Organization of American States;
- Tania Reneaum Panszi, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
- Flavia Piovesan, Special Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI persons of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
- Ambassador Alejandra Solano Cabalceta, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Costa Rica to the Organization of American States, and
- Antonio Eduardo Alarcón Zamora, Alternate Representative;
- Wesley Reisser, Director of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Office of International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and
- Amanda Hickman, Alternate Representative of the Permanent Mission of the United States to the Organization of American States, and the State Department’s Office of International Organization Affairs;
- Pedro Eliud Cisneros Cuervo, First Secretary of the Mission of Mexico to the Organization of American States, and
- Gustavo Adolfo Torres Cisneros, Alternate Representative;
- Roberta Clarke, candidate for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presented by Barbados;
- Alexandra Huneeus, candidate for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights presented by the United States;
- Nancy Hernández López, judge of the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica, candidate for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights presented by Costa Rica.
We would especially like to highlight our meeting with Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, who has expressed his commitment to keep in touch with our coalition in the future.
Resolution, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
As every year since 2008, we are pleased to announce the reaffirmation of Human Rights and prevention of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons and sex workers on the continent through the adoption, once again, of the Draft Resolution for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Nevertheless, we would like to express our concern that within the discussions of the omnibus resolution on Human Rights, content was questioned about the concept of “intersectionality” in general and specifically within the sections dedicated to the strengthening of the Inter-American Commission of Women and to the Follow-up Mechanism of the Convention of Belém do Pará. (Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women). The questioning of these contents threatened the progress made in previous years, since it sought to eliminate the recognition of women in all their diversity and the intersectional approach.
We believe that suppressing the intersectional approach is profoundly deleterious and does not only affect trans, lesbian and bisexual women, but also undermines the rights of women who are indigenous, Afro-descendant, migrant, sex workers, women with disabilities, and impoverished women, among others. Negating women in all their diversity and opposing the intersectional approach would take the OAS Human Rights resolution back to language and an approach that predates the historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Fortunately, the hard work of some delegations made it possible to retain the intersectional approach and the inclusion of women in all their diversity both to guide the work of the CIM and to strengthen the implementation of the Convention of Belém do Pará.
NEW COMPOSITION OF THE IACHR AND THE INTER-AMERICAN COURT
The LGBTTTI Coalition urges the new iterations of the IACHR and the Inter-American Court to continue to promote the protection of the human rights of all persons without discrimination, including discrimination committed on the basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, for performing sex work, or for defending human rights. We welcome Nancy Hernández López and Verónica Gómez to the new configuration of the Inter-American Court. We also salute Roberta Clarke’s and Joel Hernandez’s selection to the IACHR, particularly the increase in the participation of members of the English Caribbean that the inclusion of Ms. Clarke represents for the commission.
The LGBTTTI Coalition congratulates the bodies that make up the Organization of American States. A successful General Assembly came about despite the context imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This highlights a commitment to progress through dialogue. We urge Member States to continue to guarantee the human rights of all populations without distinction, without stigma and without discrimination.
The following organizations that are part of the LGBTTTI Coalition and Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean that work within the framework of the OAS sign:
- Argentina – AKAHATÁ Sexuality and Gender Task Force
- Argentina – ATTTA ( RedLACTrans )
- Barbados – Sexuality Health and Empowerment (SHE)
- Belize – TIA Belize ( RedLACTrans )
- Belize – Belize United Defence Movement (UNIBAM)
- Bolivia – National Network of Trans Women in Bolivia (REDTREBOL) (RedLACTrans)
- Bolivia – Diversencia Foundation
- Brazil – Articulação Política das Juventudes Negras
- Brazil – Grupo Ativista de Travestis, Transexuais e Amig@s (GATTA)
- Brazil – Grupo Esperança
- Brazil – Liga Brasileira de Lésbicas (LBL)
- Brazil – Rede Nacional de Negr@s e Afros LGBTTT (Rede-afros-lgbts)
- Canada – Egale.
- Canada – * The Canadian HIV / AIDS Legal Network (* Associate Member)
- Chile – OTD Association Organizing Trans Diversities
- Chile – Sindicato Amanda Jofré (RedLACTrans)
- Colombia – Association of Leaders in Action
- Colombia – Affirmative Caribbean
- Colombia – Diverse Colombia
- Colombia – Santamaría Foundation
- Colombia – Trans Community Network (RedLACTrans)
- Costa Rica – Mulabi – Latin American Space of Sexualities and Rights
- Costa Rica – TRANSVIDA (RedLACTrans)
- Costa Rica – Asociación Ciudadana Acceder
- Dominica – Dominica Chapter of the Caribbean Partnership on HIV and AIDS (ChapDominica)
- Ecuador – Alfil Association (RedLACTrans)
- Ecuador – Women’s Communication Workshop
- El Salvador – Aspidh Rainbow Association (RedLACTrans)
- Grenada – Grenada Chapter of the Caribbean HIV and AIDS Partnership (GrenCHAP)
- Guatemala – Organization Trans Queens of the Night (OTRANS) (RedLACTrans)
- Guyana – Society Against Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation (SASOD)
- Honduras – Association for a Better Life (APUVIMEH)
- Honduras – Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa (RedLACTrans)
- Jamaica – J-FLAG
- Mexico – Letra S SIDA, Cultura y Vida Cotidiana
- Mexico – Mexican Network of Trans Women (RedLACTrans)
- Mexico – Rainbow Foundation for Respect for Sexual Diversity AC
- Mexico – LAS REINAS CHULAS, CABARET AND HUMAN RIGHTS AC
- Nicaragua – Nicaraguan Network of Trans Activists (REDTRANS)
- Nicaragua – ODETRANS (RedLACTrans)
- Panama – Panamanian Association of Trans People (RedLACTrans)
- Panama – Fundacion Iguales
- Paraguay – Aireana Lesbian Rights Group
- Paraguay – Panambi Association (RedLACTrans)
- Paraguay – Escalando Association.
- Peru – Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (PROMISEX)
- Peru – Runa Institute for Development and Gender Studies
- Peru – TRANS FEMINIST ORGANIZATION FOR THE RIGHTS OF TRANS PEOPLE (RedLACTrans)
- Regional – Caribbean Forum for the Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CARIFLAGS)
- Regional – Latin American and Caribbean Network of Trans People (REDLACTRANS)
- Regional – Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean (RedTraSex)
- Regional – Synergía – Human Rights Initiatives
- Dominican Republic – Women and Health Collective
- Dominican Republic – TransVestite and Sex Workers Community
- Dominican Republic – COTRAVETD (RedLACTrans)
- Dominican Republic – Dominican Diversity.
- Saint Lucia – United & Strong Inc.
- Subregional – Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE)
- Suriname – Women’s Way
- The Bahamas – The Framework Organization (RedLACTrans)
- Trinidad and Tobago – CAISO – Sex and Gender Justice
- Uruguay – Trans Association of Uruguay (ATRU)
- Uruguay – Colectivo Ovejas Negras.
- USA – Hondurans Against AIDS.
- USA – SWOP’s Con Mujerxs Gender Justice
- Venezuela – Venezuela Diverse Civil Association
- Venezuela – Diversity and Equality Through the Law (DIVERLEX)
The statement is available in Spanish here:
The statement is available in Portuguese here: