Strengthening the movement against homophobia and for the rights of LGBTI people in Haiti Posted on August 18, 2016 Kouraj pou pwoteje dwa moun (Kouraj), Union de personnes luttant contre la discrimination et la stigmatisation (UPLCDS), American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and Equitas launch a new project in Haiti funded by the European Union. Charlot Jeudy (Kouraj) – Photo: Mikael Theimer – www.mikaeltheimer.com Kouraj, UPLCDS, AJWS and Equitas are pleased to announce the launch of a new project in Haiti to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and to combat the discrimination, stigma, exclusion and violence which they face. Funded by the EU, the project will be implemented over the course of the next three years ending in April 2019. Discrimination, stigma, exclusion and violence against LGBTI people is a systemic and widespread phenomenon in Haiti. Because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBTI people endure abuse, sexual assault and rape, denial of employment and education opportunities, expulsion from their families, and discrimination in access to social services and justice. The 2010 earthquake only exacerbated the discrimination and violence. Having lost their networks of community and family protection, LGBTI people suffered increased violence in the camps for displaced persons, and because of their stigmatized status, suffered violations of their right to food and housing and have been victims of arbitrary arrests. Despite these obstacles, an LGBTI movement is emerging in Haiti, particularly through the work of groups such as Kouraj which has led awareness and advocacy campaigns among local authorities and the public. In creating this platform, the LGBTI movement has brought the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity to the forefront. However, in 2013, the reaction to these campaigns and new claims for rights was strong, even violent. Orchestrated by powerful forces, in particular religious groups, an increase in homophobic acts (media slur campaigns, demonstrations, hate mongering) led to an outbreak of physical and sexual assaults of LGBTI people. The LGBTI movement is taking root but remains fragile and isolated. It is against this background that Equitas, in close collaboration with AJWS, UPLCDS and Kouraj, and financially supported by the EU, aims to create a social and political environment conducive to the respect for diversity and the protection and promotion of the rights of LGBTI people. To do this, the project will focus on: § Strengthening leadership and institutional capacity within the LGBTI movement; § Increasing the capacity of civil society organizations, state institutions and the media to use a human rights based approach in their work to promote the rights of LGBTI people and their full participation in all aspects of Haitian life; § Developing alliances between civil society organizations and state institutions, for a consistent and transversal dialogue at the community and national levels based on the respect of LGBT rights. § Implementing activities (community awareness and mobilization, observation and documentation, advocacy, policy dialogue) to support legislative reforms to improve the situation of LGBTI people, to develop and implement strategies and mechanisms to protect LGBTI people, and to raise public awareness on issues of equality, non-discrimination and respect for sexual orientation and gender identity. The program is made possible through the support of the European Union. It is implemented by Equitas, AJWS, Kouraj and UPLCDS. For more information: Gail Dalgleish Senior Program Officer, Haiti Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education gdalgleish @ equitas.org 514-954-0382 ext. 223 ++ Watch an interview of Equitas partner, Charlot Jeudy (KOURAJ, Haiti) who met with VICE’s Brigitte Noel while he was in Montreal in June 2016.