Watchdog gives emergency aid to gay activists in danger

Published: December 10, 2012

A human rights watchdog to help gay and trans activists to help with legal advice, prison visits, security and other emergencies.

US-based Freedom House has announced the move as activists around the world celebrate Human Rights Day today (10 December).

They will help the most at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex activists in the world, particularly in countries where being gay is criminalized.

The small emergency grants are intended to assist with temporary relocation, legal representation, prison visits, medical expenses, dependent support, security, equipment replacement and other urgent expenses.

The Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program announced today 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.

‘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.’

Dignity for All is made possible by a consortium of gay and human rights organizations and is supposed to improve safety and security and counteract imminent risks, like government crackdowns on gays, as well as deal with emergencies, like arrests.

Lynn Fredriksson, director of global programs at Freedom House said: ‘Programs like Dignity for All and Lifeline provide a safety net for those who fight for human rights in challenging environments, often at great risk to themselves and their families.

‘Grassroots activists and organizations are at the forefront of advancing human rights for all – they document abuses, challenge impunity and indifference by governments and institutions, they give voice to those who have been silenced.’

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