B’nai B’rith International extends its sympathies to the family of the young gay Chilean man who died this week from injuries he sustained at the hands of neo-Nazis a few weeks ago. This unfortunate event has reinvigorated the much-needed national debate about the necessity of passing anti-discrimination legislation, which is still pending in the Chilean Congress.
“We continue to urge the Chilean Congress to pass the pending anti-discrimination legislation, as we did when this young man was attacked,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “The Chilean Jewish community, as the broader community, has waited too long for passage of this law. We join them in urging legal protection from discrimination for all of Chile’s citizens.”
As evidenced by Chilean Senator Eugenio Tuma Zedan’s remarks, it is more important than ever that such legislation passes. In a shameful statement, Tuma recently implied that the Jewish community was to blame for the delay by saying, “If there was generosity so that everybody could benefit and not only the Jews, the law would have been approved a long time ago.” His remarks are not only misguided, but highly offensive and blatantly false.
“Tuma’s remarks are outrageous. The pending legislation would provide protection for anyone who might suffer from any type of discrimination,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “The Chilean Jewish community has long advocated for legislation that would protect all victims of discrimination and bigotry without any distinctions. Hopefully, the Chilean Congress will soon pass this much-needed law.”
In the United States, B’nai B’rith International supported the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was passed in 2009 and will continue to speak out against discrimination and hate crimes worldwide.