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U.S. Fails to Protect Human Rights of Latinos, Says Civil Rights Group

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Dec 19, 2008

Editor's Note: The organization LatinoJustice PRLDEF has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, accusing the United States of failing to protect the human rights of its Latino residents. Editors of El Diario/La Prensa commend the move, noting that hate crimes against Latinos have increased by 40 percent.

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

In recent years, hate crimes against Latinos have increased by 40 percent. Thats 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 Sucuzhanay with an aluminum bat.

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

After meeting yesterday with Sucuzhanays 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 LatinoJustice 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.

Our country must take the lives of Latinos seriously. It can start by refusing to cave into the fear-mongering, anti-immigrant minority, or it can yet again face shame on the world stage.

Related Articles:

Latino Organizations Demand Federal Action on Hate Crimes

Hate Attack on Immigrant in Brooklyn

Spanish-Language Media Decries Long Island Hate Crime

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