Freedom House Announces New Program to Help LGBTI People Under Threat
As activists from around the world celebrate Human Rights Day, Freedom House is pleased to announce the launch of its newest global program: the Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program, which provides emergency support for human rights defenders and civil society organizations working to advance the rights of LGBTI people who are under threat or attack for their work.
“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. ”
The Dignity for All program 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. Together, these programs form a comprehensive rapid response mechanism that can provide emergency and preventive assistance to the most at-risk human rights defenders. The funds provide small emergency grants for temporary relocation, legal representation, prison visits, medical expenses, dependent support, security, equipment replacement, and other urgent expenses.
“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,” said Lynn Fredriksson, director of global programs at Freedom House. “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.”
Dignity for All is conducted by a consortium of prominent regional and international human rights organizations, including: Akahata, Equipo de Trabajo en Sexualidades y Géneros; the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality (AFE); the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe); Freedom House; Heartland Alliance (HA); and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). The program provides: emergency financial assistance to at-risk human rights defenders and civil society organizations to ensure their safety and continue their important work; support for short-term advocacy initiatives to counteract imminent threats, such as proposed or recently passed legislation and sudden government crackdowns; and proactive support to enhance the security of LGBTI activists and organizations through preventive security trainings.
Like Dignity for All, Lifeline is composed of a consortium of prominent international NGOs, including: the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA); CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation; Freedom House; Front Line: Protection of Human Rights Defenders; the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL); People in Need (PIN); and the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC). Lifeline combats the global trend of increasing restrictions on civil society, both legal regulations and outright attacks, through a combination of emergency assistance, short-term advocacy support, and engagement with the program’s 17 donor governments and foundations. Lifeline supports a wide range of civil society organizations, including journalist associations, student groups, labor unions, think tanks and human rights organizations.
For more information, please visit the Emergency Assistance Programs page (http://www.freedomhouse.org/program/emergency-assistance-programs), or contact email@example.com.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
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