Anti-gay march in Haiti threatens more violence

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — Another march has been called by religious groups for next Tuesday in the city of Les Cayes, after two earlier demonstrations against homosexuality have taken place in Haiti since 19 July.

More than 1,000 people demonstrated against homosexuality and same-sex marriage at two different marches in Haiti. The first demonstration took place in the capital, Port-au-Prince, on 19 July. The demonstration was organised by the Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations (Coalition haïtienne des organisations religieuses et morales). A second one was held in the city of Jacmel, in the south of the country, on 28 July.

Local human rights organisations have stated that during and after the first march on 19 July, acts of violence and aggression against persons perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) were reported.

In a statement published on 30 July, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights referred to 47 cases of violence and aggression [against] LGTBI persons or perceived as such, including attacks with knives, machetes, cement blocks, rocks, and sticks between 17 and 24 July.

Haitian LGBTI rights activists have reported that a new march has now been called by religious leaders to take place in the city of Les Cayes, in the south of the country, on 6 August.

Even though no acts of violence against those perceived as LGBTI were reported following the 28 July march, risks for the safety of LGBTI people remain, especially considering that many fled the capital Port-au-Prince for the countryside in fear for their safety after the first march.

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