The name of Haiti’s most prominent LGBTI rights organization is Kouraj (Haitian Creole for courage) — with good reason. The group’s headquarters have moved three times after attacks. The current office is on a side street, unmarked, with a plainclothes security guard out front. But inside there’s no question where you are. The reception area is decorated with a rainbow flag and a rainbow clock.
The law does not specifically prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, language, sexual orientation or gender identity, or social status, but the preamble to the constitution specifically reiterates the importance of adhering to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which prohibits all forms of discrimination. Nonetheless,... Expand
The law does not specifically prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, language, sexual orientation or gender identity, or social status, but the preamble to the constitution specifically reiterates the importance of adhering to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which prohibits all forms of discrimination. Nonetheless, no effective governmental mechanism administered or enforced such provisions, including provisions called for in various regional and international agreements.
There were no laws criminalizing sexual orientation or consensual same-sex conduct between adults, nor were there any reports of police officers actively perpetrating or condoning violence against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
There were no laws criminalizing the changing of one’s gender or sex; however, local attitudes remained hostile to outward LGBT identification and expression, particularly in Port-au-Prince. In response to increased advocacy and activism by LGBT and other human rights groups during the year, LGBT persons experienced a higher degree of hostility from more conservative or traditional segments of society, including government officials, than in previous years. Religious and other conservative organizations actively opposed the social integration of LGBT persons and discussion of their human and civil rights. Parliamentarians publicly noted that they would not and should not consider any type of LGBT rights legislation, particularly one calling for marriage equality.
There were no antidiscrimination laws that protected LGBT persons and minority groups. Additionally, traditional mistrust of law enforcement and judiciary officials, along with a historically low rate of successful prosecution of SGBV and related crimes, hindered LGBT advocates and community members from successfully cooperating to reduce violence and discrimination experienced by the group. Some civil society advocates claimed that in the greater Port-au-Prince area, HNP authorities were inconsistent in their willingness to document or investigate LGBT persons’ claims of abuse.
LGBT advocacy groups in the capital reported a greater sense of insecurity and less trust of government authorities than did groups in rural areas. Several local NGOs and international organizations provided direct support to LGBT persons who alleged discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity or being victims of SGBV.
LGBT advocacy and human rights groups, as well as international organizations, continued to assert that LGBT persons consistently experienced great difficulty in formally registering complaints of abuse and discrimination with government authorities. Reporting of rape and sexual assault remained low across all demographics of the LGBT community. Although advocates and international partner institutions insisted that the incidence of such abuse remained high, there was a lack of consensus among advocates on the extent of abuses. The women’s victims organization KOFAVIV claimed that, since the 2010 earthquake, cases of rape and other forms of SGBV perpetrated against women, children, and LGBT persons rarely yielded both arrests and convictions of the perpetrators. LGBT advocacy groups also expressed fear of reprisal from perpetrators if they report crimes to police.
During the year the HNP expanded the institution’s dialogue with human and LGBT rights groups, engaging with LGBT advocates to discuss the challenges they face in interacting with police. During these exchanges HNP participants affirmed their commitment to protecting the rights of LGBT persons and promised to increase the institution’s responsiveness to activists’ concerns through training. HNP academy instructors worked with civil society groups and international organizations to incorporate a community policing framework and philosophy, teaching police officers to respect the rights of all civilians without exception, into their adapted human rights training curriculum.
In contrast with 2013, there were no large-scale antigay marches or rallies.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights ReportContract
The majority of the western hemisphere sanctions same-sex marriage and adoption for LGBT parents, but outliers remain, as Haitian same-sex couple Maksens Denis, 49 years of age, and Loubentz Raphael 30, know firsthand about their country. Without enjoying any legal recognition, the gay couple lives in Port-au-Prince with a son. “We live as a couple. Ever since the first day we found each other, we haven’t been separated. And things have gone pretty fast since the beginning. We felt a very strong connection, so much so we were sure we were created for each other. And so we wanted to live together,” Denis told Reuters.
Since Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in 2010, the country’s already-marginalized LGBT community has faced a surge of attacks at home, including attempts to pass harsh legal measures that would further restrict LGBT rights. In response, Haiti’s LGBT community has become progressively more organized and active, pushing back for the first time.
“This is the most abject attack in Haiti. A Power of the State against the rights of peaceful citizens,” described Charlot Jeudy, Director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual (LGBT) advocacy organization, Kouraj. The head of the most active and most targeted LGBT group in Haiti delivered these remarks within 24 hours after the Senate voted on the “Law on Strengthening the Provisions of the Civil Code Relating to Marriage and the Protection of the Family” bill. If passed, the bill makes same-sex marriages illegal in Haiti, for nationals and foreigners, punishable by a prison sentence and fine upto $8,000 [USD]. Jeudy regards the bill as “unconstitutional” and is referencing several articles within the Constitution of Haiti dealing with individual freedom and fundamental human rights.
A Vote by the Haitian Senate to ban gay marriage as well as "public demonstration of support" for homosexuality reflects the will of the people, the chamber's president said Wednesday. The Senate approved a bill late Tuesday that said "the parties, co-parties and accomplices" of a homosexual marriage can be punished by three years in prison and a fine of 500,000 gourdes (about $8,000). "All senators are opposed to same-sex marriage, so this simply reflects the commitments the senators made during their campaigns," Senate President Youri Latortue told AFP. Haiti's constitution established a secular republic but the country is marked by deep religious beliefs.
The party was like many others in Delmas, a neighborhood in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, with a vibrant gay community — an evening of men in colorful dresses and revealing attire, laughing and catching up. They sipped Prestige beer and 7-Up, as Beyoncé and Rihanna played in the background. The party stretched into the early morning hours with no end in sight. Then someone knocked on the door. On that March night in 2012, a group of men dressed in black and wearing ski masks forced their way into the apartment. Wilkenson Joseph, then 35, was the closest to the front door. Wearing a red sequin dress, a dark wig, red lipstick and high heels, he was a prime target for the group looking to attack gay men.
Feared and denigrated by members of other faiths, Haitian Vodou is a far cry from the zombie-raising cult of a thousand horror films — and it’s also the only welcoming place for many LGBT Haitians.
Organizers of an LGBT festival that was to have taken place this week in the Haitian capital cancelled the event amid fears of violence and a government official’s decision to ban it. The Massimadi Haiti festival, which was scheduled to begin in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, sought to celebrate the Afro-Caribbean LGBT community. Film screenings, art exhibits and other events were slated to take place at venues throughout the Haitian capital through Friday. Kouraj, a Haitian LGBT advocacy group, organized the festival that was to have taken place in the country for the first time. It’s main organizers are based in Montreal.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Organizers of a cultural festival in Haiti celebrating the Afro-Caribbean LGBTQ community said Tuesday that it has been called off due to numerous threats of violence and a subsequent prohibition by a government commissioner. The four-day Massimadi film, art and performance event was supposed to start Tuesday in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but organizers said it had to be postponed after a prominent Haitian cultural institution known as FOKAL and other co-hosts were threatened with arson and other attacks.
The Obama administration says it has no plans to end a decades-old program that holds would-be asylum seekers without access to lawyers on the same legal grounds underpinning the detentions of those held in the so-called “war on terror.”
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