UN rights office urges Chile to pass anti-discrimination law

[JURIST] The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Friday urged the Chilean government to pass a new law [statement] aimed to protect its citizens from discrimination based on their sexual and gender identities. Spokesperson for the OHCHR, Rupert Colville, released the statement in response to the killing of a 24-year-old gay man [AP report], Daniel Zamudio, by a group of "alleged neo-Nazis" in the Chilean capital of Santiago last week. The incident in Santiago has "sparked a public outcry" in Chile, causing hundreds to gather for vigils in memory of Zamudio. Colville stated:

We deplore the violent criminal act that took the life of this young man and urge the Chilean Congress to pass a law against discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, in full compliance with relevant international human rights standards. ... We also urge Chile to enact hate crime legislation that establishes hatred based on various grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, as an aggravating factor for the purposes of criminal prosecution.
An anti-discrimination bill is currently being reviewed and is awaiting approval by the lower House of Parliament in Chile.

Discrimination because on sexual orientation has been an ongoing issue in many countries. Earlier this month the UN Human Rights Council urged member states to put an end to sexual orientation-based violence [JURIST report] and discrimination. In a video address, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged that sexual orientation and gender identity are sensitive subjects, but said action needs to be taken because lives are at stake. The Russian lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, is considering a controversial bill that bans the spread of "homosexual propaganda" to minors [JURIST report]. The bill calls for fines of up to 500,000 rubles (USD $16,500) for promoting the homosexual lifestyle and appears to be aimed at media outlets which lawmakers blame for "promoting gay lifestyles as 'normal behavior.'"

 

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