In Haiti, the UN Finally Pledges Protections for LGBT


The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has won an important commitment for Haitian gay and HIV+ people, its Executive Director, Cary Alan Johnson, says.

Johnson said that Nigel Fisher, humanitarian coordinator for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti has “pledged to help elevate the voices” of LGBT and HIV-Positive Haitians, “so their demands are met in the rebuilding process.”

Fisher was speaking to hundreds of AIDS policy experts at the North American Housing and HIV/AIDS Research Summit on September 22.

“People living with or affected by HIV and AIDS, or gay and transgender minorities, they are still left out in the cold,” said Fisher.

“So I can say to the summit organizers: You’ve already done two things in bringing me here. One, you’ve raised my awareness by inviting me. But, two, you’ve allowed me to meet with . . . Haitian advocates here. And we’ve already come up with some ideas about how we can work together once we return to Haiti.”

This was following the January 2010 earthquake rhetoric that blamed LGBT people for bringing the “wrath of God upon Haiti.”

IGLHRC worked with SEROvie, Haiti’s men who have sex with men (MSM) Community Organisation, extensively in the months after the earthquake to document the secrecy, isolation, discrimination and violence that Haiti’s already vulnerable LGBT population was facing. With them they produced a report titled ‘The Impact of the Earthquake, and Relief and Recovery programs on Haitian LGBT People,’ which proposed guidelines for the UN, governments, civil society organizations and human rights groups to protect the human rights of LGBT people in disaster situations.

In March last year, Johnson wrote of a visit to Haiti:

“Many in this community have been left without food, shelter or identification—and more still have lost close family members and friends. SEROvie has distributed food and medication to LGBT people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s devastated capital, and have begun to re-launch their important work in 5 regions (Le Nord, L’Ouest, Le Sud-Est, Artibonite, le Sud) around the country. They are also trying to help LGBT people in the makeshift camps for the displaced in Port-au-Prince, distributing condoms and lubricant (some of which was provided by Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) ) and by offering encouragement and understanding to a marginalized group of people that, in the span of 37 seconds, was rendered substantially more vulnerable.”

In March this year, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a thematic hearing on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Haiti.” [See video of the hearing] Petitioners in the hearing included the IGLHRC and SEROvie.

Said Johnson of Fisher’s pledge:

“We are happy to see this important pledge of support from the UN. As a supporter of our organization, I wanted to share with you this example of the real impact of our work and of your support.”

Related Stories:

Black Trans People Face Higher Rates of Discrimination

Life is a Gift: HIV/AIDS in Kenya

Blood Donation Rejected Because Man “Looked Gay”

Picture of Rafael Renold, SEROvie Peer Educator providing HIV Prevention Counseling and Training at the SARTHE Displaced Persons Camp by IGLHRC


Thubten Chokyi
Jenny Dooley5 years ago

Thank you for this news about minorities in Haiti...I hope conditions have improved greatly!

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

Thank you, UN!

Brigid C.
Brigid C6 years ago

I am always glad to see any type of help for Haiti's people whoever they are

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

Dawid, you shouldn't use big words like "fascist" until you learn what they mean.

Ellen Mccabe
Ellen m6 years ago

Whatever it takes to afford protections to the GBLT community anywhere is a priority..but due to the horrendous conditions in places like Haiti their plight is that much more desperate, and deserves our full support and attention.
And to those who question why it's such a big deal...educate yourself!

Debbie Brady
Debbie Brady6 years ago

Stories like this give me hope.
The war against bigotry and intolerance must be brought to every corner of the world.
It is the only war worth fighting!

Lynn C.
Lynn C6 years ago

Now we'll see how well this plays out.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

Steve R says,
"No wait - maybe its shelter - or food - or healthcare....." That's true Steve but and it's a big but, when you have a corrupt government and people competing for the same basic needs it is very often the minorities that get more abuse than normal. LGBT folks are part of the minority around the world, so yes the UN, governments, organizations and people need to speak out against the abuse and ask for protection for those abuse or oppressed, and not only in times of need, but whenever it happens.

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Dawid...that's because LGBT person's are persecuted more and have less protection than other persons. Also, look up the definition of "fascist" here by Lawrence Britt. You'll find your type of analogy and attitude here:

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Dawid...that's because LGBT person's are persecuted more and have less protection than other persons. Also, look up the definition of "fascist" here by Lawrence Britt. You'll find your type of analogy and attitude here: