We Condemn the Brutal Murder of Thapelo Makhutle

Press Statement for Immediate Release
June 14, 2012

PASSOP LGBTI Refugee Advocacy (People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty) and its LGBTI Refugee Solidarity Network strongly condemn the brutal murder of Thapelo Makhutle a 24 year old, Gay activist commonly known as ‘ThaBling’ in Kuruman.

We convey our deepest and sincere condolences to his family. Thapelo has become the latest victim of a homophobic hate crime in South Africa, after the assault of the refugee Junior Miteo in Salt River and the attack and robbery of a lesbian asylum seeker Rachel in Mandalay, Cape Town.

We cannot be silent about this vulgar, violent human rights violation. This act is a graphic demonstration that South Africa has not attained in practice the human rights it guarantees in theory in our Constitution.  LGBTI rights and Human Rights are not separate but rather one and the same.  It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay.   When we see denials and abuses of human rights coupled with inaction by the police and government it sends a strong message to those perpetrators that their actions are acceptable.  However, when we see community, government and police leaders take action against such acts it sends a strong message to everyone that LGBTI rights and human rights are one and the same.

His attackers broke down the door to his room, determined to kill him. Unconfirmed reports from witnesses state that Thapelo’s genitalia was severed and inserted into his mouth. There are no signs that this was an attempted burglary, rather it is evident that he was killed because of his sexual orientation.

– We demand to have the right to have access to the forensic reports and to be updated on the current investigation.
– We are shocked that the Mothibistad Police have not made any arrests at this stage
-A police official stated that Kuruman had not had any reports of hate crimes before. This comment is wholly untrue and shows that, despite ongoing homophobic attacks in South Africa, the Police remain ignorant and insensitive to how they should address hate crimes.  We call on them to act on behalf of justice and the rule of law.

For more information, please contact:

Activist Junior mayema e-mail: jedblessma@yahoo.com

Phone number :  0027 0736263346

Guillain Koko the Project coordinator E-mail : koko@passop.co.za

Phone number :  0027 0785029626

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