Thu 9 Apr 20
An Essex lawyer has helped win a landmark judgment at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, supporting the human rights of LGBTI people across the continent.
***Trigger Warning: this report contains a description of sexual violence.
Professor Clara Sandoval, from the School of Law and Human Rights Centre, has been litigating for over ten years on behalf of Azul Rojas Marín, a transgender woman, who was beaten, stripped naked and subjected to torture and rape by Peruvian police in February 2008.
Rojas Marín (who at that time self-identified as a gay man and now self-identifies as a woman) was arrested arbitrarily. Throughout the process, the police officers made derogatory remarks about her sexual orientation.
On 6 April, The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), the ultimate authority on human rights in the Americas, found Peru responsible for torture and sexual violence against an LGBTI person. It is the first time in its history that the IACtHR has considered a case of discriminatory torture.
The Court found Peru responsible for the violation of a range of rights in relation to Rojas Marín, in breach of its obligations to respect and ensure those rights without discrimination.
Peru was also found responsible for the violation of the right to personal integrity of Rojas Marín’s mother, who died in 2017.
On learning of the ruling, Azul Rojas Marín said: “I am very grateful to all the people who have made this possible. I have no words to describe how I feel. I thank God above all. After all that I have been through, finally a court believes me. I only wish I could have been able to share this joy with my mother, who was always alongside me in my efforts to report the crime and find justice.”