Ecuador: Gay rights activist survives attempt on his life, as UN meets to consider protection for LGBT people

Patricio Ordóñez Maico, a member of the Friends for Life Foundation (Fundación Amigos por la Vida), an organisation which campaigns for the rights of LGBTIed people, was assaulted at FLF's offices. His assailant broke in and attacked him with a knife and then a pistol shouting, 'I am going to kill you queer son of a bitch.' Patricio suffered knife wounds to his chest and back.

The attack happened a week after Patricio spoke at an international human rights meeting about a complaint he has filed against police officers who previously assaulted him. He had been arbitrarily detained and suffered ill treatment including sexual abuse on two occasions by National Police officers in the capital, Quito, in May and June 2001. He filed a complaint against the officer and a further complaint after receiving death threats from the officer involved.

Amnesty International is issuing this appeal for action as the 60th Session of UN Commission on Human Rights meets in Geneva. The Commission will be considering a landmark resolution on human rights and sexual orientation. The resolution, proposed by Brazil and co-sponsored by at least 20 countries including the UK, calls on states to promote and protect the human rights of all people, stressing that the enjoyment of universal rights and freedoms 'should not be hindered in any way' on grounds of sexual orientation.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Lesley Warner said:

'The number of reports we receive about threats or violence against people like Patricio, who are simply standing up for their rights and the rights of others, is alarming. The authorities in Ecuador must grant him immediate protection and investigate thoroughly the complaints against police officers.

'Meanwhile millions of people across the globe face imprisonment, torture, violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Greater attention from the UN and a guarantee of protection at the international level could make a difference to real lives. It is time to end the intolerable exclusion of gay and transgender people from the full protection of the UN system.'

For information on where to send appeals on behalf of Patricio Ordóñez Maico to the Ecuadorian Minister and Justice and Attorney General please visit www.amnesty.org.uk, where there is also information about how to send a message of support to Friends for Life Foundation.

Background

Ecuador is one of the few countries in the world whose constitution explicitly forbids discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. However, most of the crimes against LGBT people that Amnesty International has brought to the attention of the Ecuadorian authorities have gone unpunished.

Amnesty International estimates that around 70 countries have laws that criminalise same sex relations.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Spanish, English or your own language:

  • expressing serious concern that Patricio Ordóñez was reportedly attacked on 12 March 2004;
  • pointing out that you are aware that Patricio Ordóñez was reportedly attacked after he gave testimony at an international human rights meeting in Quito, organised by the International Federation for Human Rights;
  • calling on the authorities to do everything necessary to ensure the safety of Patricio Ordóñez and other members of the Friends for Life Foundation, in accordance with their own wishes;
  • calling for a full and independent investigation into the reported attack on Patricio Ordóñez and for those responsible to be brought to justice;
  • pointing out that Patricio Ordóñez has lodged a complaint that he was arbitrarily detained and ill-treated by National Police officers in Quito, on 31 May and 2 June 2001, asking what conclusion the investigation has reached, and urging the authorities to publish the investigation's findings.

APPEALS TO:
(Time difference = GMT - 5 hrs / BST - 6 hrs; it may be difficult to get through to these fax numbers; please keep trying)

Minister of the Interior
Ing. Raúl Baca Carbo
Ministro de Gobierno, Policía, Justicia, Cultos y Municipalidades
Ministerio de Gobierno y Policía
Benalcázar y Espejo
Quito ECUADOR
Fax: 00 593 2 2580 067 (if someone answers, say 'Tono de fax, por favor')
Salutation: Dear Minister / Estimado Sr. Ministro

Attorney General
Dra. Mariana Yépez de Velasco
Ministra Fiscal General del Estado Fiscalía General del Estado
Av. Eloy Alfaro Nº32-240 y República
Quito ECUADOR
Fax: 00 593 2 2558 561 - 2558 565 (if someone answers, say 'Tono de fax, por favor')
Salutation: Dear Attorney General / Sra. Fiscal General

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:

His Excellency Senor Eduardo Cabezas, Embassy of Ecuador, Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X OLS. Fax: 020 7823 9701

AND, IF POSSIBLE, COPIES AND/OR MESSAGE OF SUPPORT TO THE FOLLOWING:

Human Rights Organization
Fundación Amigos por la Vida
Los Rios 103 y Manuel Galecio
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Email: famivida2@hotmail.com

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY

For information about Amnesty International's LGBTI network, please visit www.ailgbt.co.uk

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