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September 29, 2013: Supporting the struggle for LGBTI rights in Haiti

Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people is a systemic and widespread phenomenon in Haitian society. Long ignored in Haiti, the issue of equality and respect for the basic dignity of sexual minorities has recently emerged as the result of the courageous efforts of a number of recently established groups. Regrettably, the reaction to the emergence of these groups from some sectors of Haitian society has been strong and even violent in recent months.  The LGBTI movement remains fragile and faces powerful and well-organized opponents. Activists and ordinary people have been harassed, threatened and two were reportedly killed. Working in partnership with more than twenty Haitian organizations, our efforts in Haiti have always aimed to present alternatives to violence and discrimination, increase protections for vulnerable people and ensure the inclusion of marginalized groups in the process of reconstruction and development. It was, therefore a natural evolution in 2011 when we teamed up with the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) to build the capacity of LGBTI groups in Haiti and help them link up with other civil society and state institutions.  As the threats to the LGBTI community have grown in recent months, Equitas has been working with AJWS and local organizations to develop strategies to counter the continued persecution, exclusion and discrimination against sexual minorities in Haiti. For more information, contact Frédéric Hareau at: fhareau@equitas.org

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