Posts Tagged 'Freedom of Speech'

Freedom House announces new program to help LGBTI people under threat

Repost from Freedom House.

As activists from around the world celebrate Human Rights Day, Freedom House is pleased to announce the launch of its newest global program: the Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program, which provides emergency support for human rights defenders and civil society organizations working to advance the rights of LGBTI people who are under threat or attack for their work.

“Today, in more than 70 countries there are laws that treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people as criminals. These laws reinforce stigma and prejudice, and provide legal cover for serious human rights violations,” said Ariel Herrera, senior program officer for the Dignity for All program at Freedom House. “Dignity for All is able to help those who are victims of these pernicious laws or otherwise face serious threats to their personal security for their work in defending the rights of LGBTI people. Today, on Human Rights Day, we honor them. ”

The Dignity for All program joins Freedom House’s Lifeline: Embattled CSO Assistance Fund, an emergency assistance fund which supports embattled civil society organizations working on critical human rights issues. Together, these programs form a comprehensive rapid response mechanism that can provide emergency and preventive assistance to the most at-risk human rights defenders. The funds provide small emergency grants for temporary relocation, legal representation, prison visits, medical expenses, dependent support, security, equipment replacement, and other urgent expenses. Continue Reading

Calling for Basic Freedoms of Speech and Assembly for LGBT Moldovan Citizens

On July 3, thirty members of the United States House of Representatives—both Republican and Democrat—sent letters to Moldova’s Prime Minister and to the President of the Moldovan Parliament. This bipartisan letter expressed concern about a number of recent events that display a disrespect of basic freedoms of speech and assembly for LGBT Moldovan citizens. In June, the Law on Ensuring Equality, the anti-discrimination bill that has been under preparation since 2008,  was stripped of sexual orientation in its final version and a provision defining marriage as between a man and a woman was inserted. Furthermore, the Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament has made a litany of homophobic and derogatory public statements about LGBT people as explanation for the changes in the legislation, and for which Moldovan civil society has demanded an apology .

In the months prior to the legislation, a dozen municipalities and provinces passed identical declarations that call for special zones of support for the Moldovan Orthodox Church and a variety of prohibitions on freedom of assembly and speech by LGBT Moldovan citizens. The Council for Global Equality continues to bring the attention of U.S. policy makers to the disturbing trend in many former Soviet republics towards restricting basic freedoms of assembly and speech, and the rising homophobia in the region.

Related: ILGA-Europe and ICJ’s recent report on “Homosexual Propaganda” Bans

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