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While the immediate concern of a monitor visiting a place of deprivation of liberty is the observation of situations and conditions, leading to analysis and conclusions, it is my experience that every visit is usually followed by certain moments of introspection. After my visits, I have often been struck at how, from every human interaction, from every instance or pattern of abuse and from every tale of respect – or disrespect – that is reported to me I can see reflected societal mores, preconceptions and prejudice.
This is particularly true when one strives to observe and understand the lived experience of bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans and other gender diverse persons deprived of liberty. One sees it all. Upon entering a place of deprivation of liberty, I have had meetings in which authorities were visibly uncomfortable at the sole use of the word lesbian and others in which I was informed that gay men are a construct of other parts of the world and not existing in that context. While the legal argument that condoms are criminal paraphernalia is only made in the 71 countries that still criminalise same sex relations, in the rest of the world the stigma associated to the mere existence of LGTBI persons remains deeply entrenched in the collective awareness.
Up to this day, I have never had an experience where policies in places of detention catered for bisexual persons or revealed an understanding of intersexuality. While great progress has been made in relation to the needs of trans persons, they remain the most mistreated of all persons deprived of liberty. In my recent report to the Human Rights Council I observed that “[n]egation is adopting the position that violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity do not exist in a particular context or that, in a given social context, there are no lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or gender non-conforming persons” and, indeed, this fiction is the source of much of the violence and discrimination that I have observed in places of deprivation of liberty.
The reader of this manual, possibly about to engage in a visit that hopefully will impact persons’ lives and contribute to social change, may experience apprehension deriving from an awareness of just how little one single person can know about the enormous range of problems and needs connected to sexual orientation and gender
identity in places of deprivation of liberty, a concern that I know only too well. This guide – prepared by the Association for the Prevention of Torture with great attention to the current state of international human rights law, best practices in the field of torture prevention, and the wealth of experience of the extraordinary group of experts
that provided its substance – will provide an understanding of the factors of risk and the acts, patterns and extreme manifestations of torture and ill treatment against LGTBI persons, and is an invaluable blueprint for any conceptual understanding of these.
While adhering to technical rigour that has proven so effective in the preventive approach, the guide makes evident different facets present in persons, objects and spaces and interactions. Its great merit – in the tradition of all the indispensable materials prepared by the APT over the four decades of its existence – is that, in doing so, it will enrich every visit to a place of detention and every human interaction that occurs in its frame. Equally important is the fact that the guide motivates the reader to understand, in practice, how such traits interact with race, ethnicity, religion or belief, health, status, age, class and caste, as well as migration or economic status, to drive
the dynamic processes that, in space and time, create the lived experience of persons deprived of liberty.
(798.14 KB) | 5. December 2018 | Author: Association for the Prevention of TortureDownload