Peru to Ban Gay Police who Cause Scandal? By Peter Tatchell
Peru to ban gay police who cause scandal?
A bid to clean up police says Interior Minister
Lima and London – 26 May 2009
“The British Ambassador to Peru has confirmed that the left-of-centre Lima government plans to ban gay police officers whose sexual behaviour causes scandal and damages the reputation of the police.
Existing gay and bisexual officers could face the sack,” said gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
“Critics say the new law is probably unconstitutional. To its credit, the British government is consulting with Peruvian human rights groups and the European Union to consider what action to take in protest at this discriminatory legislation,” he said.
Replying to a query, the British Ambassador to Peru, Catherine Nettleton, confirmed that “a new Peruvian law intended to improve police discipline includes sanctions on members of the national police who ‘have sexual relations with members of the same sex, which cause scandal and discredit the image of the institution’. We are seeking the views of local human rights groups and the office of the Ombudsman and will be considering with our European Union colleagues what action to take,” wrote the Ambassador.
The proposed new law is being championed by the Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas, as part of a drive to clean up corruption and improve the low reputation of the Peruvian police.
A copy of the BBC report on the issue follows below.
Further information: Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790
Peru to ban gay police officers
Peru has announced that it will ban homosexuals from the police force for damaging the image of the institution.
The law is one of several new regulations put forward by the Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas.
Ms Cabanillas is trying to shake up the institution, which has a dismal reputation among the general public.
But critics say some of the new laws, especially those regarding sexual orientation or activity, are unconstitutional.
The law states that any police officer who has sexual relations with someone of the same gender will be indefinitely suspended from the police force.
The same applies to officers who have extra-marital relations – their actions are also deemed to cause scandal and denigrate the institution’s image.
They are among a raft of new regulations, which also include provision for sacking police officers who accept bribes, organise or take part in strikes and protest marches.
Ms Cabanillas’ strong-arm tactics have earned her some public backing and the nickname “Thatcher” in the Peruvian media, after the former Conservative British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Traditional machismo means openly homosexual police men are extremely scarce, but gay rights activists are growing in strength and this new law will provoke a debate.