Washington - Today, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, called upon federal and local government officials and law enforcement authorities to strengthen their efforts to implement a long-term strategy to address violence against LGBT individuals in Puerto Rico. It has been reported that three LGBT Puerto Ricans have been found dead over the past several days and 18 LGBT Puerto Ricans have been murdered over the last year and a half. Yesterday, it was reported that Ramón "Moncho" Salgado was found dead along the side of a highway Karlota Gómez Sánchez, a transgender woman, was found shot to death at an intersection on Monday and Alejandro Torres Torres was found stabbed to death earlier in the weekend.
"The alarming rate of violence against LGBT Puerto Rican's cannot be tolerated," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Puerto Rican government officials and law enforcement, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, must ensure that LGBT people have the protection they need to survive. When a community has to live in constant fear of violence and even death for who they are, everyone suffers."
Puerto Rico has a hate crime law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, federal law prohibits hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice entered an agreement with the Puerto Rico Civil Rights Commission, the Puerto Rico Police Department and the Colegio Universitario de Justicia Criminal in 2010 to create a cooperative effort to develop and implement hate crime training initiatives and civil rights curriculum for the Puerto Rico Police Academy and Puerto Rico Police Department. Despite such legal protection and ongoing efforts to address hate violence, the murders of LGBT individuals have continued.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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