Note: Brazil map - The state of Paraná is highlighted in blue on the map
Fifteen activists from Curitiba, state capital of Paraná, Brazil report they have been receiving constant death threats
Fiften activists from Curitiba, Brazil have revealed today that they have been receiving constant death threats since the last week of September.
All the threats are of a homophobic nature and characteristic of hate crimes expressing a high degree of cruelty.
They have been being received by telephone at home and at work, by mobile phone, e-mail and social media since the last week of September.
The phone calls are being made from public telephones.
Among the 15 threatened are Márcio Marins, president of the NGO Dom da Terra and Toni Reis, president of ABGLT – the national Brazilian LGBT association.
Reis revealed that one of the threats he received by phone said: 'You are going to die, you, your husband and your son. Your mother is a dyke'.
In view of the situation, this week the Human Rights Secretariat of Brazil sent a special mission to Curitiba, comprising of Irina Bacci, general coordinator of the National Human Rights Ombudsman Service, Igo Martini, general coordinator of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Programme and three members of the programme’s technical team. The mission interviewed everyone who reported having been threatened.
The mission also had meetings with several authorities of the Paraná State Government, including the Secretary of Justice, Citizenship and Human Rights (SEJUS), Maria Tereza Uille Gomes, and authorities responsible for policing.
All the cases have been referred to the Civil Police Special Operations Centre (Centro de Operações Policiais Especiais - COPE).
SEJUS is to set up with the utmost urgency an pan institutional committee comprised of several government departments and human rights activists to accompany the threats and homophobic violence in the state of Paraná.
Steps will also be taken to form a Reference Centre with a multidisciplinary team to attend to LGBT people suffering threats or discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The complaints regarding the threats will also be submitted formally to the governor of the State of Paraná, Beto Richa, asking for a meeting with the governor’s and protection.
Complaints will also be submitted to the public prosecution service and to the federal police for investigation as there may be links with hate groups in Curitiba.
A request will also be made for a public hearing to be held at the Paraná Legislative Assembly to discuss the threats and homophobia faced by the LGBT population in the state.
Speaking with Gay Star News Reis said: ‘We are very sad that for being threatening for fighting for LGBT community.
‘We are doing no harm to anyone, we are citizens just like any other, and in return we are receiving death friends.
‘We are simply working to help further equality in Brazil.
‘We’re very concerned about the rising tide of homophobia in Brazil, which we think may be related to the growing religious fundamentalism from evangelical Churches that increasingly have more political clout.
‘Death threats are very intimidating, from the fifteen people that were threatened, three have already announced that they will stop their advocacy for LGBT rights.
‘In my case the attacks only strengthens my determination to pursue LGBT rights advocacy more vigorously.
‘They won’t intimidate me.’
According to the report 'Homophobic Violence in Brazil in 2011', published by the Human Rights Secretariat of Brazil, the state of Paraná is in the 5th place in terms of violence against LGBT people.
The research is based on official figures of number of complaints of homophobic violence made to Brazil’s emergency services number, 100.
In the state of Paraná 424 complaints were received in 2011 alone. In the same year the national total was 6,809 violations.