Sound the Alarm

Filed under: International

 

HRC’s Sound the Alarm initiative raises the visibility of incidents around the world in which LGBTQ people are experiencing instances of violence or other severe attacks on their rights or well-being. We track and shine a spotlight on these incidents and provide ways to support affected LGBTQ communities.

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. Not all attacks on LGBTQ people are included here, though.

In determining whether to add a country to Sound the Alarm, HRC considers whether an incident is systemic, time-sensitive, severe or shows signs of developing into a severe situation and whether HRC’s engagement can help prevent or halt negative incidents from occurring or developing. HRC will not include a country on Sound the Alarm when its engagement would endanger local LGBTQ community members.

HRC regularly updates Sound the Alarm and periodically will remove a country if there is no longer a severe or time-sensitive threat to LGBTQ people that HRC’s advocacy can influence.

 


Learn more below about what's happening in: 


Uganda

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. 

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

  • Sharing information about what is happening to LGBTQ people in Uganda.

  • Speaking out on their behalf with your government representatives.

  • Visiting this page regularly for updates and additional opportunities to support these communities as HRC monitors developments and consults with our partners in Uganda. 

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.

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.


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.