12/19/08

El Diario: A petition for human rights

Una petición por los derechos humanos

A petition for human rights

The responses to the latest act of hate have included calls for tolerance. They must also continue to push for the delivery of justice.

Over five years, hate crimes against Latinos have increased by 40 percent. That’s happened alongside a hostile immigration debate that has singled out Latinos, and amid federal policies that pander to anti-immigrant zealots.

Hispanic organizations have long sounded an alarm about this trend and the tenor of the immigration debate. Yet, hate claimed another victim earlier this month.

We were still reeling from the hateful murder of Marcelo Lucero in Long Island in November when news came of an attack in Brooklyn. There, a group of men descended on Ecuadorian immigrant and businessman Jose Sucuzhañay with an aluminum bat.

In response to the attack and murder of Sucuzhañay, New York City Council members and community leaders took to the streets to denounce this hate crime. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also denounced the murder of Sucuzhañay, who was with one of his brothers when the attackers brutally beat him.

After meeting yesterday with Sucuzhañay’s family, Governor David Paterson committed to ensuring that hate crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This should help set a tone for leaders across the state and nation, too many of whom continue to engender anti-immigrant sentiment.

Other officials are pushing for toughening hate crime laws. But Latino Justice PRLDEF is going a step further. The civil rights organization has filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, charging the United States with failing to protect its Latino residents.
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