SALVADOR, Brazil, April 23 (UPI) -- More than 100 gays, lesbians and transsexuals were killed in Brazil last year as a result of hate crimes, the largest number recorded of any nation, a gay-rights group in the northern state of Bahia said Tuesday.
The report by Grupo Gay da Bahia -- scheduled for release Wednesday -- says 132 homosexuals were killed in 2001 during violent acts targeting gays.
Between 1980 and 2001, GGB says 2,092 gays in Brazil were killed in hate crimes, an average of 104 deaths a year. The group says this is the highest rate in the world by far, with Mexico ranking second, averaging 25 killings a year.
"Brazil is the world champion of crimes against gays, lesbians and transvestites," according to an excerpt of the soon-to-be released report. "During Carnaval (the five-day countrywide celebration leading up to Lent), everyone applauds the gays on the catwalks, but during the rest of the year, they experience, humiliation, strikes against their character and death."
Among Brazil's 26 states, the industrial southern state of Sao Paulo ranks the highest with 24 reported killings last year.
According to the study, Pernambuco state and the country's federal district, Brasilia, are the most dangerous places for gays, as they recorded the highest rate of homosexuals killed through violent acts per person.
The GGB report says that only 10 percent of those who commit violence against gays ever serve time for their crimes.
Marcelo Cerqueira, coauthor of the report, "Cause of Death: Homophobia," said GGB gathered statistics on gay deaths from newspaper accounts and police reports.
Based in the Bahian capital of Salvador, GGB is the country's oldest organization defending gay rights. Founded in 1980, it is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and has worked with Brazil's Health Ministry to combat the spread of AIDS.
The study on homosexual killings was funded by the World Bank, UNESCO and the Kimeta Society of Canada -- a funding body for gay and lesbian rights' groups.
GGB President Luiz Mott -- the report's other author -- said that though the repression of homosexuals is much greater in other countries, citing Muslim nations Iran, Iraq and Egypt, "homophobia is still very prevalent in Brazil."
Mott has called for a nationwide effort to fight prejudice against homosexuals in order to curtail hate crimes against them.
"We can only lower these rates implementing courses of sexual education at all school levels, approving laws that punish those who discriminate or commit violent acts against homosexuals and mobilizing the homosexual community to defend their human rights," said Mott in a recent interview with O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.