Photos of Haitian LGBTI rights group Kouraj, by Lorenzo Tassone
Kouraj (Haitian creole for “courage”) formed in 2009 as Amis-Amis (“Friends-Friends”) and became Kouraj in December 2011. They are activists “working for the promotion of the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people” in Haiti (known in Haitian Creole as persons M for Masisi, Madivin, Makomer or Mix) and aim to raise public awareness of the situation of discrimination and stigma towards their community. Activists of Kouraj told Amnesty International how the situation of LGBTI people has worsened since the 12 January 2010 earthquake, especially with the substantial arrival of religious groups from North America, many of whom have accused homosexuality in Haiti of being one of the reasons for the earthquake and the source of the country’s problems.
Following the 2010 earthquake, 2.3 million Haitians were left homeless with no alternative but to make their own shelters wherever they could. According to Kouraj LGBTI people or those perceived as being LGBTI were often victims of discrimination in the displacement camps and many had to flee for even more precarious living conditions.
Following the call on 26 June for the march of 19 July, Kouraj activists have been receiving threats via phone, Facebook, and at their office in Port-au-Prince. They decided to close it because of the threats. Charlot Jeudy, president of Kouraj, has been targeted in some of the threats. One of the leaflets left at Kouraj’s premises stated “If Charlot doesn’t shut his mouth, we’ll shut it for him” (“si Charlot ne ferme pas sa gueule, on va lui fermer” [sic]).
Write now to protect Kouraj activists and LGBTI people in Haiti!