Thursday, September 8, 2011

LGBTs expresses alarm over possible hate crimes

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/224596/nation/lgbts-expresses-alarm-over-possible-hate-crimes

KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMA News

06/27/2011 | 11:54 PM

A coalition of individuals and organizations advocating the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) on Monday expressed alarm over the supposed rising number of hate crimes being committed against LGBTs in the country.

“The number of killed LGBT Filipinos is staggering. The alarming number of LGBT Filipinos being killed is strongly indicative that hate crimes may be happening,” the Philippine LGBT Crime Watch said in a statement released Monday.

The LGBT Crime Watch, citing a study by its leaders Marlon Toledo Lacsamana and Reighben Earl Wysten Mendoza Labilles, said that at least 103 LGBTs have been killed in the Philippines since 1996 — 28 of whom were murdered during the first half of 2011 alone.

According to the study, which was conducted through sourcing of information from online news sites and personal accounts, most of the victims were gays (61), followed by transgenders (26), lesbians (12), and bisexuals (4).

It said that most of the LGBTs died of multiple stab wounds (22 cases) and bullet wounds (12 cases). Some of the victims were reportedly dismembered; burned alive; raped then killed; or tortured then executed.

“The brutalities done to the murdered LGBT Filipinos are also suggestive that they were victims of hate crime,” said the LGBT Crime Watch. The study also indicated that most of the crimes were committed against LGBTs 25 to 44 years old, mostly in the Greater Manila Area.

But Lacsamana and Labilles, who conducted the study, admitted that they — hopefully with the help of the Commission on Human Rights and Philippine National Police — will still have to verify the supposed hate crimes.

“For now, the assumption that they were victims of hate crimes must be accepted. This opens the opportunity to explore if prejudice or hate against LGBT people progresses to acts of murder or other forms of violent crime in certain situations in the Philippines,” they said in the study.

The LGBT Crime Watch likewise noted that the hate crimes may not be limited to murder. “There may be a yet to be uncovered string of crimes done against individuals who are members of minority groups just because of the prejudice, bias, or hate against them,” it said.

Because of this, the group said there is a need for government to conduct a national inquiry on crimes, especially if the victims are mostly members of minority groups.

“There is hope that the nature, occurrence, perpetrators and targets of all forms of hate crimes in the Philippines will be revealed. Greater hope still that endangered sectors of Philippine society will be protected and given justice when victimized. And this hope may come into fruition if all of us work together,” it said.

The LGBT Crime Watch started from a Facebook group and has since gained the support of other LGBT rights advocates and organizations. — PE/VS, GMA News

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