MADRE organizes with women’s and LGBTIQ rights activist to create safe spaces in dangerous places. We share strategies, launch campaigns and build power together. Here is a snapshot of the last five years.
"The Court's ruling is a milestone victory for human rights advocates the world over. It sets a precedent in international law that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a human rights violation–one that we hope will help defend the rights of LGBTIQ persons wherever these rights are under attack."
Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director
Haiti can be a dangerous place for LGBTIQ people. In 2010, it became even more dangerous when LGBTIQ people were scapegoated for the massive earthquake.
We launched a campaign to confront worsening violence. We brought together hundreds of people, including grassroots rights activists, doctors, judges, lawyers, and members of the Haitian government. In a series of workshops, we came up with strategies to support survivors by connecting them to health and legal services.
LGBTIQ people in Iraq are in danger of torture and murder because of who they are. We joined with our local partners, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), and with OutRight Action International to confront this crisis.
We began by providing care, counseling and other emergency aid for LGBTIQ Iraqis. We trained our partners to document human rights abuses against LGBTIQ people for future prosecution. And we launched a campaign to counter anti-LGBTIQ stigma through community radio and public events.
Through human rights workshops, we put the tools of international advocacy right into the hands of grassroots Haitian LGBTIQ groups. These workshops helped people:
- know their rights
- learn how to document human rights abuses
- build strategies to confront stigma
These workshops strengthened a network of local activists, ready to gather evidence of human rights violations and bring their demands to the international arena.
Rapid Response to Reveal Abuses Against LGBTIQ People in Haiti
MADRE and our partners kept tracking homophobic and transphobic violence. When anti-LGBTIQ demonstrations erupted in Haiti in the summer of 2013, our partners mobilized immediately to document the abuses. We shared that evidence with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Not only did the IACHR speak out publicly against the attacks, the Haitian government followed suit to do the same.
We brought the list of human rights demands from our workshops — for real protections and an end to discrimination — to the international arena. Together with our partners, we presented a report to the UN Human Rights Committee on the abuses they face.
We specifically called for the passage of pending legislation to protect women and LGBTIQ people from violence and discrimination. In response, the Committee directed the Haitian government to document violations and to pass the law.
When ISIS invaded Iraq, they immediately put a target on women and LGBTIQ people, singling them out for torture and killing. Our partners were the first line of defense. With MADRE member support, we mobilized an emergency response to help provide urgent aid and escape routes.
Each of us has a story, but we don’t all get the chance to tell it. Many LGBTIQ Iraqis have had their stories silenced by violence and discrimination. We gave a group of them a chance to be heard.
Together with OutRight Action International and our partners OWFI, we produced a memoir to spotlight the stories of Iraq’s LGBTIQ community.
Our next report presented clear demands to policymakers on how to protect the lives of LGBTIQ people in Iraq. We pushed policymakers to take action like gather official data on human rights abuses and set up anti-discrimination training for police.
In 2015, we partnered with OWFI to launch Room for All, an event series.
Room for All is a safe space for people to come together in dialogues guided by OWFI. These discussions spotlight harmful stereotypes against LGBTIQ Iraqis and promote acceptance. These gatherings are joyful occasions, featuring theater, poetry and music, attracting even more people to join this growing community of rights supporters.
With our support, our local partners held the Iraqi government's ineffective LGBT Committee accountable.
We submitted the report “Living With Fear” to the UN Committee against Torture. We showed that LGBTIQ people in Iraq face violations severe enough to constitute torture. The Committee responded. They issued a call directly to the Iraqi government’s LGBT Committee, instructing them to take action.