UN urges probe into LGBT deaths in El Sal­vador

New Straits Times - - World -

SAN SAL­VADOR: An uptick in deadly vi­o­lence against trans­gen­der women in El Sal­vador prompted the United Na­tions on Fri­day to call for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into crimes against sex­ual mi­nori­ties in the conservative Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­try.

This year, seven trans­gen­der women were killed in El Sal­vador, said the Geneva-based Of­fice of the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights.

Lo­cal LGBT or­gan­i­sa­tions put the death toll at 17 through the first four months of the year. Last year, at least 25 trans­gen­der women were killed.

Lead­ing trans­gen­der ac­tivist Karla Ave­lar said lo­cal gang mem­bers had de­manded money and made threats that forced her to flee her home six times in the past two years.

Ave­lar, who leads a lo­cal tran­srights or­gan­i­sa­tion, said she had no faith that lo­cal au­thor­i­ties could pro­tect her from gangs who rou­tinely de­manded ex­tor­tion pay­ments from res­i­dents and busi­nesses.

“Crim­i­nals op­er­ate within the same in­sti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment.

“So, how can you en­trust your life to them? How can you en­trust your se­cu­rity to these in­sti­tu­tions?”

Ave­lar, 40, is a fi­nal­ist for the 2017 Martin En­nals Award, an in­ter­na­tional prize for hu­man rights ac­tivists, but said the gang mem­bers had al­ready sought to ex­tort some of the fu­ture prize money if she won.

“I won’t wait for them to kill me. And, how am I go­ing to give them some­thing I don’t even have?” Reuters

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