Maria Clara de Sena, UN’s Brazilian Transgender Women and Human Rights ActivistNov 25th 2015

Maria Clara de Sena, UN’s Brazilian Transgender Women and Human Rights Activist
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The first transsexual in the world to take up a post in a Prevention and Fight against Torture, a body that works in partnership with the United Nations (UN), is Brazilian. Born in Pernambuco, Maria Clara de Sena, 36, found that in male prisons in Recife, homosexuals often suffered rape, night and day, and when transsexuals and transvestites were arrested, they had their hair cut before the arrest.

Maria spends her days in meetings and visits to prisons in Pernambuco. Maria fights against ill-treatment and torture suffered by any person who is deprived liberty.

“I suffered mistreatment as a child at her home in the city of Camaragibe, Recife. I wanted to be, and was not even a man, gay or woman, but I wanted to be a trans woman," Maria said in an interview with G1. Maria did not identify nor behaved like a boy.

"I could not understand what was wrong or what happened to me, people would say I had a mental problem. So instead of creating my social relationships, I was internalizing, not talking or communicating with anyone."

The executive secretary of Human Rights in Pernambuco, Laura Gomes, recognizes Maria’s achievement. "These are people who are most vulnerable among those who are already vulnerable in these environments. Maria has prided us with professionalism and dignity. This goes beyond the LGBT group, this is for all people.”

The selection for the United Nations new post was made through a tender involving curriculum analysis, writing and interview. The work involves constant visits in places such as prisons and psychiatric hospitals. The reports are forwarded to the responsible government agencies.

"We get a complaint and we will act. This is a fight against ill-treatment and torture. We follow up to make sure that the actions recommended in the report are being made, "said lawyer Mariana Santa Cruz, who is also part of the team. Under the law 14,863 in 2012, the organ function is "to eradicate and prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts.”

Translation: Virna Souza

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Article by: Virna Souza [BrazilChicago]

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