The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has called, on the 11th Transgender Day of Remembrance, for action to be taken against the abuse of transgender people in Guatemala and Turkey.

In Guatemala, three trans women were brutally murdered in the space of just one week between October 26 and November 2, 2009.

On Monday October 26th, Kenia Mayli was shot to death in the centre of Guatemala City. Her body showed signs that she was tortured by being hit by a car around her head and shoulders before she was shot.

Then, on Saturday, October 31, Jessica Andreina’s body was found by other trans women colleagues, in the city of Puerto Barros, in the north of the country. She was also killed by gunfire.

Shortly thereafter, on Monday November 2nd, Sabrina Garcia Carjas, was stoned to death. Sabrina was a member of the organization OTRANS – Reinas de la Noche.

The IGLHRC said that in recent months in Turkey, the harassment of transgender and transsexual persons has intensified as police abuse the country’s Law of Misdemeanours to legitimise daily fines, extortion, eviction, detention, and police brutality.

The law, introduced in 2005, gives security forces tremendous leeway to punish any noise, disobedience, and disturbance, with virtually no oversight in how the law is applied or recourse to those who are penalised.

In the capital Ankara, transgender people report being regularly fined 140 lira, being taken into custody, and being kicked, slapped, punched, and physically brutalised. In Istanbul, the routine fine is 69 lira.

The persecution of transgender people in the country’s largest city, Istanbul, has escalated and become especially vicious, said the IGLHRC, with the introduction of a bonus system which gives officers “points” for the number of fines they issue and lawbreakers they apprehend.

The organisation urged Turkish authorities to rewrite the Law of Misdemeanours to protect the rights of transgender and transsexual persons to move, associate, and express themselves freely.

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