US Human Rights Commission condemns spike in anti-LGBT violence in Haiti following protest

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A US-based human rights commission has condemned a recent rise in violence against LGBT people in Haiti, following a march against gay rights earlier this month.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) criticised the spike in anti-LGBT violence, citing a march led by the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organisations, which took place on 19 July in Port-au-Prince.

The Commission is pushing the Haitian Government to tackle the issue, and to stop the acts of violence and discrimination.

Information published by the IACHR between 17 and 24 July, indicates that there were 47 cases of violence and aggressions against perceived LGBT people.

The attacks included knives, machetes, cement blocks, rocks and sticks.  Death threats have been received, and the houses of LGBT people have been burned to the ground or looted.

The statement notes a statement issued by the President Michel Martelly, and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, which denounced the events, calling for tolerance from the majority of Haitians. The commission did say that the state needed to do more to spread a message of tolerance.

The statement from the IACHR read: “The Commission reiterates that the State has the duty to respond to these human rights violations and guarantee that LGTBI persons may effectively exercise their right to a life free of discrimination and violence, including the adoption of public policies and campaigns. In this regard, the Commission reiterates that the ineffectiveness in the State response fosters impunity, which in turn fosters the chronic repetition of these crimes, leaving the victims and their families defenceless. Moreover, impunity for these crimes sends a general message to society that this violence is tolerated.”