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Take Action on Behalf of Chilean LGBTI rights defender Ms Javiera Villareal attacked and beaten

On 2 February 2012, human rights defender Ms Javiera Villareal was attacked and beaten in Santiago by three unidentified assailants after she had distributed condoms as part of a health protection programme.

Javiera Villareal is the recently-elected Executive President of Movimiento Trans Nacional (Trans National Movement) and an activist with Movimiento Unitario de Minorías Sexuales – Mums (United Movement of Sexual Minorities), both organisations working for the promotion and protection of the rights of transsexual people.

On 2 February 2012, Javiera Villareal was attacked by three unidentified young men as she was on her way home after she had distributed condoms as part of health programme focusing on sexually transmitted disease prevention, at the corner of Avenida Vespucio and Avenida Las Industrias in the commune of La Cisterna in Santiago. The assailants approached her and asked her if she was Javiera. When she replied that she was, they started to kick and punch her and shouted “kill her, kill her”. At one point during the attack, she fell to the ground and the attackers continued to beat her. She eventually managed to flee and went to her mother's home who then brought her to the hospital. Despite the fact that she was wearing gold jewellery and was carrying a purse and a mobile phone, the attackers never attempted to steal from her.

As a result of the beating the human rights defender suffered a fractured wrist, a dislocated finger, damaged ribs, and cuts and bruises to her face and body. She is reportedly now making a full recovery and has lodged a complaint with the police who have launched an investigation into the attack.

Front Line Defenders believes that the attack and beating of Javiera Villareal is directly related to her human rights activities and in particular her work in promoting and protecting the rights of transsexual people in Chile. Front Line Defenders is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Javiera Villareal and for those working on LGBTI issues in Chile, particularly in light of this attack.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Chile to:

1) Ensure that the investigation currently underway into the attack and beating of human rights defender Javiera Villareal is thorough and impartial, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2) Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Javiera Villareal and other human rights defenders working on LGBTI issues, as Front Line Defenders believes she was targeted as a direct result of her human rights work;

3) Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Chile are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions

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