Sound the Alarm

Filed under: International

HRC’s Sound the Alarm initiative seeks to raise visibility and elevate the profile of places where LGBTQ advocates and people are facing significant threats to their safety and their advocacy efforts.

By shining a spotlight on emergencies, we hope to generate global media and public attention that can halt atrocities where they are occurring or are likely to occur.

The type of developments we most frequently respond to include but are not limited to:

  • Anti-LGBTQ violence and hate crimes perpetrated by the state and/or vigilantes.
  • Government persecution and censorship.
  • Criminalization of consensual same-sex relations between adults.
  • Curbs on human rights advocacy.
  • Legal setbacks.
  • Violence against transgender people.

Learn more below about what's happening in: 


Poland

Conservative forces are increasingly targeting the LGBTQ community in Poland in the weeks leading up to the October parliamentary elections.

LGBTQ people have faced dangerous verbal assaults by politicians and the Catholic Church, including from the leader of the incumbent conservative party (PiS) who referred to LGBTQ advocacy as “imported” and “a threat to the Polish identity” and archbishops in Krakow and Bialystok who stated that LGBTQ people threaten Poland with a “rainbow plague” and that LGBTQ Pride is “blasphemy against God.” This disturbing language has galvanized local governments in Poland into declaring themselves “LGBT free zones” and incited physical attacks and hate-filled speech from anti-LGBTQ opponents at Pride celebrations.

Even as these incidents, intended to position LGBTQ people and their rights as a wedge issue in the coming elections, have occurred, the Trump-Pence administration has failed to speak out in support of LGBTQ people’s human rights in Poland.

LGBTQ people and their allies have resisted the hateful attacks. Many have claimed their identity as a badge of pride, using the hashtag #JestemLGBT (“I am LGBT”) to publicly show solidarity with other LGBTQ people.

HRC has taken a number of actions:

  • HRC has sounded the alarm on these recent attacks, sharing what people need to know about the situation in Poland and how to support the LGBTQ community there.
  • HRC has worked with international organizations and influential figures to bring attention to the targeting of LGBTQ people and the scare-tactics of conservative forces in Poland.
  • HRC has supported KPH, a leading LGBTQ organization in Poland, to build its capacity to further amplify the voices of local advocates.
  • HRC has called on U.S. State Department leadership to push back against the wave of anti-LGBTQ attacks in Poland. 

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

 

Brunei

On April 3, 2019, Brunei implemented a new law that imposes state-sponsored torture and the death penalty for LGBTQ people. The new measures mandate penalties such as floggings and prison for those convicted of engaging in consensual same-sex relations, and the possibility of death by stoning. This makes Brunei one of only a handful of countries in the world that impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex relations.

HRC has taken a number of actions:

  • HRC, international organizations, Congress, and major celebrities have worked to bring attention to those responsible for this law.

  • HRC is continuing to drive awareness through an #EyesOnBrunei digital campaign.

  • HRC worked with Rep. Ilhan Omar to introduce a bill (H.R.2561) authorizing sanctions on Brunei.

In early May, the Sultan of Brunei announced an extension of their moratorium on capital punishment, including stoning to death for consensual same-sex relations, however, anti-LGBTQ laws remain on the books, which advocates continue to call on Brunei to repeal.

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 Brunei and around the world.

 

Chechnya

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.

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.

 

Indonesia

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.

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


Tanzania 

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.