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  Français Home Contact Us Help Search RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) Search  | About RIRs  | HelpCOL43449.E04 April 2005Colombia: Treatment of homosexuals and lesbians and available state protection(2002-2005)Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa General situation An article published in Colombia Week   reported that "tens of thousands of spectators" attended a civil rights march in Bogotá during the two weeks of 4th annualfestival named "Pink Series," which commemorates a 1969 revolt in New York cityknown as the "birthplace of the gay rights movement" (28 June 2004). Lectures and filmprojections organized as part of the festival reportedly attracted large crowds which,according to Colombia Week   , indicates that "Colombia's [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual andTranssexual, LGBT] movement is gaining strength despite unrelenting machismo andmoral hypocrisy" (28 June 2004).The 8th annual gay pride parade in Bogotá attracted around 4,000 people for itsJune 2003 edition (AP 29 June 2003). According to the Associated Press, participationwas picking up "as courts and politicians embrace[d] demands by gays and lesbians forgreater equality" (29 June 2003). Colombia Week   stated that "hatred of homosexuals remains virulent" (28 June2004). In addition, according to a social worker from Profamilia, a non-governmentalorganization (NGO), the majority of homosexuals or bisexuals will not openly state theirsexual orientation for fear of [translation] "the inquisitive look of society" ( RevistaCambio  n.d.).The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) stated that violence againstthe LGBT community is not discussed in public debates, since this is not perceived as asocial problem (25 Aug. 2004). According to ILGA, for some people, when a homosexualis murdered, this simply means that there is [translation] "one less homosexual" (ILGA25 Aug. 2004). An education campaign was organized in Medellín between 20 and 23August 2004 for which the slogan was [translation] "Kiss me... don't kill me" (ibid.), a magazine on culture and travel in Latin America, Spain and Portugal,featured an article on homosexuality in Colombia written by Manuel Antonio VelandiaMora, an openly gay member of Congress (Sept. 2004). The author stated that, as anexample of the progress made by homosexuals in politics, the Liberal Party of Colombiarecognized sexual minorities as a legitimate social group ( Sept. 2004).However, Velandia Mora reported that a gay candidate in the 2001 Congress elections, RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) of 56/19/09 2:45 PM  Manuel Bermudez, was attacked by paramilitaries (ibid.). Manuel Antonio Velandia Morawas himself the victim of a grenade attack and of deaths threats during the 2002parliamentary campaign (IGLHRC 13 Mar. 2002).According to a source published in 2002, youth gangs beat up young gay men inthe city of Bucaramanga, where the president of the municipal council had declared theprevious year that gays were [translation] "not welcome" there (Planeta Paz Dec. 2002,33).In June 2004, a gay rights activist from Colombia was granted political refuge inSpain after receiving threats in Colombia (UPI News 3 June 2004). The leader of theMovement for Homosexuals in Colombia, Manuel Velandiz, stated that this would obligethe Colombian government to protect the rights of people "regardless of their sexualpreference" (ibid.). NGOs and gay visibility The NGO Planeta Paz works with social leaders in eight regions of Colombia to helpthem articulate their positions and make them more visible (Planeta Paz n.d.). This NGOproduced a list and description of 21 LGBT organizations which is available at<>. Teleantioquia stated that thepast few years have seen the emergence of new and more diversified organizations forlesbians (Triangulo Negro, Mujeres al Borde, Colectivo Lésbico, Fundación Mujeres deEbano), gay men (Edipogay, Colectivo Gay de Medellín, Amigos Comunes, Grupo deApoyo Oasis, Rostros de Fortaleza) as well as a support network for transgender people(Red de Apoyo a Transgeneristas) (n.d.).The Website provides links to gay saunas, video clubs andbars in a few cities in Colombia, identifying over 30 gay bars in Bogotá, 7 in Medellín, 5in Baranquilla, 5 in Cali, and about 20 other gay bars elsewhere in the country (n.d.). Aswell, a Website called Colombian-ito Guía Gay Colombia provides extensive informationon the gay scene, mostly for the cities of Bogotá, Cali and Medellín, at:<>. Colombia Week   indicated that gay barsare multiplying across Colombia, that gay characters are more frequently being featuredin movies and TV shows and that LGBT communities are developing, such as in theChapinero neighborood in Bogotá (28 June 2004).Planeta Paz indicated that considerable progress has been made regarding LGBTrights with the creation of a national network of organizations and with links beingdeveloped between these LGBT organizations and other social sectors (Dec. 2002, 23). Legal situation In 2002, Senator Piedad Cordoba Ruiz introduced a bill proposing the recognitionof same-sex unions; this bill was drafted with the help of LGBT organizations ( ColombiaWeek   28 June 2004; IGLHRC 9 Apr. 2003). However, the bill did not garner sufficientsupport in August 2003 to remain on the agenda ( Colombia Week   28 June 2004).Another bill related to same-sex couples was defeated in August 2003, when the Senaterefused to allow transfer of inheritances and social benefits to the same-sex survivingpartner (AFP 27 Aug. 2003).On 28 October 2004, the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled "that same-sexcouples have the same residence rights as married couples" when it overruled a decisionby a departmental government restricting the amount of people allowed to live on theisland of San Andrés ( Weekly News Update on the Americas  14 Nov. 2004). RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) of 56/19/09 2:45 PM  Following rulings made by the Constitutional Court over recent years, homosexualscannot be excluded from serving in the armed forces ( n.d.). The sameapplies to access to the workplace, schools and accommodations (ibid.; see also AP 29June 2003). The Constitutional Court also invalidated a law banning transsexuals fromparading in the streets and granted gays and lesbians the right to conjugal visits inprisons (AP 29 June 2003). Targeting of homosexuals by violent groups Planeta Paz indicated that violence targeting LGBT people comes from organizedgroups as well as from actors of the civil conflict (Dec. 2002, 33).In his 2003 report titled Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas  ,Andrew Reding stated that LGBT people are "at high risk" in Colombia and that"right-wing paramilitary groups have targeted homosexuals for 'social cleansing'" (Dec.2003, 2). According to Planeta Paz, there have been reports of [translation] "socialcleansing" in the cities of Pereira, Cali and Bogotá (Dec. 2002, 34).In some areas, "parts of the resources of the Plan Colombia fell into the hands" of paramilitary organizations (International Relations Center 3 Feb. 2005). InBarrancaberneja, paramilitaries closed gay bars, and beauty parlors belonging to gaymen were "transferred to women"; the paramilitaries also reportedly killed and mutilatedone homosexual man (ibid.).In conflict zones, the paramilitaries and the Colombian Revolutionary ArmedForces (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) have become [translation]"the new guardians of morality" ( Sept. 2004). According to Congress MemberVelandia Mora, guerillas have forced homosexuals to move outside of the areas theycontrol and have imposed HIV testing to various people, regardless of their sexualorientation (ibid.). Transvestites are tolerated by some armed groups if they providesexual favors or information; however, in some instances, transvestites have beendisplaced or killed (ibid.). Colombia Week   indicated that the social cleansing of homosexuals gets littleattention in Colombia, in part due to the high number of "political homicides" (28 June2004). Available state protection Information on state protection specifically available to homosexuals and lesbianswas scarce among sources consulted by the Research Directorate. The International Gayand Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) denounced the fact that a gaycandidate in the 2002 parliamentary elections was allowed only two days of policeprotection after receiving several death treats and after his house was attacked with agrenade (13 Mar. 2002).This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible informationcurrently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response isnot, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim forrefugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted inresearching this Information Request.ReferencesAgence France Presse (AFP). 27 August 2003. "Senate Kills Bill Granting Colombian GayCouples Property Rights." (Dialog) RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) of 56/19/09 2:45 PM  Associated Press (AP). 29 June 2003. Michael Easterbrook. "Colombia's Annual GayParade Draws Thousands of Revelers." (Dialog) September 2004. "Colombia: Cuando Hay que Jugar a Ser Macho -Homosexuales en Colombia." < /hombredr.html> [Accessed 24 Mar. 2005] Colombia Week   [New York] .  28 June 2004. Yolanda Alvarez Sanchez. "Gay MovementPicks Up Steam." <> [Accessed 29 June 2004]International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). 9 April 2003."Same-Sex Union/Anti-Discrimination Bill: To Be Discussed at the Senate."<> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005] _____. 13 March 2002. "Openly Gay Political Candidate Attacked."<> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005]The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). 25 August 2004. "Jornadas deSensibilización en Medellín." < FileCategoryID=29&FileID=302&ZoneID=19&> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005]International Relations Center. 3 February 2005. Raúl Zibechi. "Militarism and SocialMovement." (Resource Center of the Americas). < /item_18286> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005] n.d. "Guía LGBT." < /cms/index.php> [Accessed 29 Mar. 2005]Planeta Paz. December 2002. "Documentos de Caracterización Sectorial. Sector LGBT."<> [Accessed 22 Mar.2005] _____. n.d. "¿Quienes somos? - Objectivos y metodologia." < /ocumentos/objectivos.htm> [Accessed 31 Mar. 2005]Reding, Andrew. December 2003. Sexual Orientation and Human Rights in the Americas . (World Policy Institute). <> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005] Revista Cambio  . n.d. "¿Salir del Closet?" < /articulos/1491/> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005]Teleantioquia [Medellín]. n.d. "Mas que Piel: Movimiento Gay."<> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005]UPI News. 3 June 2004. "Colombian Homosexual Flees to Spain." (Dialog) Weekly News Update on the Americas  . 14 November 2004. Issue No. 772. "GayCouples' Rights Upheld." < /2004_1114.txt> [Accessed 22 Mar. 2005]Additional Sources Consulted Internet sites, including:   El Colombiano  ,,, Official WebSite of Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba Ruíz,, Rex Wockner, Semana  , World News Connection. RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) of 56/19/09 2:45 PM  Top of PageImportant Notices RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) of 56/19/09 2:45 PM
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