Target: Jean Renel Sanon, Haiti Minister of Justice and Public Security
Goal: Investigate threats to LGBT activists in Haiti and offer them protection
A coalition of “religious and moral organizations” has called for a public march against homosexuality in Haiti, and an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists has since received threats telling them to stop their activities. Urge Haitian authorities to investigate these threats and to protect these activists.
Kouraj (Haitian creole for “courage”) was founded in 2009 to promote the human rights of LGBT people in Haiti by spreading awareness and fighting stigma against the LGBT community. After the 2010 earthquake that displaced 2.3 million Haitians, North American religious groups arrived in the country to provide aid, but Kouraj alleges that many of these religious groups accused homosexuality in Haiti of causing the devastating earthquake. This unfounded and tragic idea has helped fuel hate for LGBT individuals in Haiti.
The Kouraj premises in Haitian capital Port-Au-Prince has received leaflets detailing explicit threats to Charlot Jeudy, Kouraj president. “If Charlot doesn’t shut his mouth, we’ll shut it for him,” one leaflet reads. The group has left the capital premises because of the threats as the date for the anti-homosexuality march approaches.
The United Nations set out protections for human rights defenders like Kouraj, declaring that human rights defenders have the right to carry out their activities without fear of reprisal. Tell the Haitian authorities that they must investigate threats against these human rights activists and offer them protection, not only to comply with the UN’s declaration, but to protect the fundamental human rights of Haiti’s LGBT community.
I urge you to offer investigate threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists who represent the group Kouraj, and to provide protection for the activists pending a hate march against homosexuality. Kouraj President Charlot Jeudy has received death threats, and leaflets have been left at the group’s premises in the capital threatening the group to stop its activities. These threats must be independently investigated, and members of Kouraj must be protected.
According to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, these activists have the right to continue to fight for LGBT rights without fear of reprisal. The threats against Charlot Jeudy and other members of Kouraj are infringing on their human rights, and it is the duty of the Haitian government to protect them.
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Photo credit: Victor Chapa via Wikimedia Commons