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U.N. urges Chile anti-discrimination law after gay beating

Two girls look at a picture of Chilean Daniel Zamudio placed outside the public hospital in Santiago on March 28, 2012. Zamudio, a 24-year old homosexual who had been attacked by alleged neo-Nazis, died on March 27, after 25 days in coma. AFP PHOTO/CLAUDIO SANTANA

GENEVA: The U.N. human rights office condemned Friday the fatal beating of a gay Chilean man and urged authorities to pass legislation to outlaw discrimination based on such sexual orientation.

Daniel Zamudio, 24, was savagely beaten on March 3 by four neo-Nazi suspects and died after 25 days of induced coma from "surgical trauma.

"We deplore the violent criminal act that took the life of this young man and urge the Chilean Congress to pass a law against discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"We also urge Chile to enact hate crime legislation that establishes hatred based on various grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity, as an aggravating factor for the purposes of criminal prosecution," he added.

Pictures released by Zamudio's family show the openly gay man was beaten in the head, burned with cigarettes and marked on his body with Nazi symbols and slogans.

The incident has sparked a public outcry in Chile and a debate on an anti-discrimination law proposed in Congress seven years ago.

Colville said the killing was the "latest reminder of the gravity and prevalence of homophobic violence."

"This time it happened in Santiago, Chile, but it happens every day on the streets of towns and cities all over the world," he warned.

 

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