Just a day before International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, a Peruvian trans activist Claudia Vera was shot dead in the capital city Lima while she was walking down the streets with a group of friends. Vera had been working as a human rights defender and promoter of HIV prevention.
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According to witnesses, Vera was arguing with a man when a woman approached and threatened her before leaving. Later she returned with a gun and shot five bullets at her at point-blank range, killing her on the spot.
"Today is the wake; tomorrow is the funeral at the Belaunde Cemetery in Comas. My mother is devastated, my father too; she was not supposed to die that way. That death is not wished on anyone. She was not a dog; she was not an animal. My sister was good, she was funny... her body is [looks] horrible, the bullets, one in the head, in her little head, one went in her ear, it has destroyed her little ear, why so much evil? Why were they so angry?” lamented Vera’s sister Liliana Vera.
The police are investigating the case but nobody has been detained yet.
On trans visibility day, various activists met in the place where Claudia was murdered demanding justice for her and all other transwomen who became victims of transphobic violence and state neglect.
Sandy Sussel, a trans activist and Claudia’s partner said, “When it comes to a trans woman, the police do not investigate; they do not care.”
Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) of Peru said, "We regret the violent departure of Claudia Vera, trans fellow activist... who contributed a lot to her outstanding work in favor of the community. Our condolences to friends and family."
Sí A Vida (Yes to Life), an activist organization published, "Not one more death! The human rights of transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual and intersex people (LGBTQ) are not backed by norms and laws in the country. Today one of our instructors and volunteers was killed by several shots at point-blank range in public… The young activist and promoter of HIV prevention, Claudia Vera, fought for trans women to live in a society free of violence and hate crimes.”
At present, Peru does not have any explicit law that punishes hate crimes, because Legislative Decree No. 1323 that strengthened the fight against femicide, family violence and gender violence was repealed by the Congress of the Republic in May 2017.