Sound the Alarm

Produced by the HRC Foundation

HRC’s Sound the Alarm initiative raises the visibility of situations where the safety and security of LGBTQ+ advocates and people are in danger, and where such visibility has been requested and will be helpful to those at risk.

Our objectives through the Sound the Alarm initiative are to:

  • Educate about incidents in a country that negatively affect LGBTQ+ people.
  • Support LGBTQ+ communities and advocates.
  • Prevent or halt incidents from occurring or developing.

The type of situations highlighted include, but are not limited to: instances of anti-LGBTQ+ violence and hate crimes, government scapegoating, persecution or censorship, criminalization of consensual same-sex relations between adults and imposition of restrictions on human rights advocacy. HRC will not highlight a country when its engagement would endanger local LGBTQ+ community members.

Among the many issues that we track, one of our main priorities is the decriminalization of same-sex sexual relations.

HRC also shares news and information about the impact of major global developments on the global equality movement.

During the COVID pandemic, we spotlighted a number of ways in which advocates around the world responded.

  • Five Ways COVID-19 Impacts Global LGBTQ+ Advocacy
  • HRC Global Alumni Share How Their Work is Changing During the COVID-19 Crisis
  • How Transgender and Non-Binary Communities Around the World Are Being Impacted by COVID-19
  • Places Around the World Where LGBTQ+ People are Under Attack During COVID-19

Learn more below about what's happening in:

Past Crises


LGBTQ+ communities across Uganda are facing increased violence and assaults on their human rights. These developments come as media, political and governmental leaders, and others have ramped up verbal attacks on LGBTQ+ people.

Here are some of the most recent developments:

  • On Oct. 4, LGBTQ+ advocate Brian Wasswa was brutally murdered in Janja, Uganda. Wasswa served as a paralegal with multiple organizations, working to secure treatment for people living with HIV and advocating for marginalized communities. Not long after Wasswa’s death, media reported attacks on two transgender women in Kampala resulting in severe harm.
  • Law enforcement has ramped up its targeting of LGBTQ+ people. On Oct. 21, 16 men working at a sexual health charity were arrested as a mob surrounded their office, denouncing LGBTQ+ people. During their detention, police forced the men to undergo invasive anal examinations. The World Medical Association has condemned this procedure that is widely recognized as torture, intended to harm and humiliate.
  • On Nov. 10, police conducted a mass raid on the LGBTQ+-friendly Ram Bar in Kampala. They detained more than 125 people and arrested 67 on charges of “common nuisance,” many of whom are LGBTQ+. As they await hearings on bail, many of these individuals have been detained for extended periods at the maximum-security Luzira Prison.

HRC continues to take steps to speak out about the violence directed at LGBTQ+ people and assaults on their rights in Uganda. We condemn these brutal attacks.

��THREAD��@HRC is sounding the alarm about violence against LGBTQ+ people in Uganda.

With our partners, we call on all to learn about these incidents & let their governments know they must engage the Ugandan government to protect LGBTQ+ people’s rights.

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) November 25, 2019

​You can take action in support of the human rights of LGBTQ people in Uganda by:


Since 2017, more than 100 people have been rounded up, detained and tortured in the Russian republic of Chechnya because they were suspected of being gay or bisexual. As many as 20 were murdered by the state or by victims’ own families, who had been encouraged by their government to conduct “honor killings” to “cleanse” their family names. You can play a role in halting the atrocities in Chechnya. Read more and take action here.

HRC has taken a number of actions to draw attention to these crimes against humanity:

  • HRC has repeatedly and publicly called on the Trump-Pence Administration to speak out and help refugees fleeing the region.
  • HRC has worked with the U.S. Congress to condemn the atrocities and call for action against the Chechen government.
  • In Helsinki in July 2018, HRC projected an enormous message onto the Presidential Palace the night before a summit between Trump and Putin, demanding that the two leaders immediately investigate the anti-LGBTQ+ crimes against humanity in Chechnya.
  • HRC sounded the alarm on a renewed bout of persecution and violence in which approximately 40 LGBTQ+ people have been detained and two killed since December 2018.
  • The documentary "Welcome to Chechnya" has revealed in stark focus the stories of LGBTQ+ people fleeing persecution in Chechnya. At the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, HRC spoke on a panel with filmmakers and individuals depicted in the film, highlighting the continuing oppression of LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya and what HRC and others are doing to combat it.

You can continue to take action by calling on Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo to speak out and help protect the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya and around the world.

.@HRC has our #EyesOnChechnya, as reports emerge of renewed anti-LGBTQ+ violence and killings.

These crimes against humanity must cease.

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) January 16, 2019


LGBTQ+ people have been subjected to widespread social ostracism and violent attack from government officials, religious leaders and vigilantes in since early 2016 in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

LGBTQ+ people have been arbitrarily arrested and outed to the media, transgender women have had their hair shaved off in public, and some local governments have sponsored vigilante squads to harass LGBTQ+ people. In 2017, HRC joined a coalition to denounce the growing persecution of LGBTQ+ people in Indonesia.

Gay men have been brutally flogged in front of thousands of jeering spectators in Aceh, an autonomous province governed by a strict form of Sharia law.

In the Indonesian Parliament, proposed changes to the country's criminal code would criminalize sex outside of marriage. This would effectively make sex for a great many LGBTQ+ people illegal, as same-sex marriage is also not legal in Indonesia. This and other proposed reforms drove tens of thousands of Indonesians to take to the streets in protest in the fall of 2019.

HRC continues to raise visibility about what is happening in Indonesia to lawmakers, policymakers, multilateral institutions and our members and supporters.


In October 2018 the regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam announced he would authorize mass arrests of LGBTQ+ people. While the Tanzanian national government distanced itself from the inflammatory remarks of the commissioner, LGBTQ+ people have reported feeling under threat.

International condemnation was swift. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights released a statement expressing alarm. The World Bank, the European Union, and the U.S. government also released statements expressing concern. Denmark cut $10 million in aid to Tanzania citing the worsening human rights situation.

While the massive arrests never materialized, a few weeks after the regional politician’s comments, police arrested several gay men in Zanzibar.

HRC has taken a number of actions:

  • HRC has worked to raise visibility about what is happening in Tanzania to lawmakers, policymakers, multilateral institutions like the World Bank and our members and supporters.
  • Hosted Tanzanian LGBTQ+ advocates as 2019 Global Fellows and Global Innovators to provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices for advancing LGBTQ+ equality.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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