LGBT activists in Russia and the Ivory Coast are nominated for the GALAS International Award, the winner of which will receive a bursary of €2,000 towards their work.
The GALAS were created to celebrate people in public life who have committed themselves to equality and positive representation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Ireland. In 2011 the GALAS organisers, the National LGBT Federation, created an International Award to celebrate the work, courage and stamina of people in countries where it is not as easy to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender as it is in Ireland.
Wanting to send out a strong message of support to all LGBT people on the frontlines, fighting for rights in countries where to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender could mean imprisonment, torture, and even death, and in countries that legislate to marginalise and silence LGBT people, three of Ireland’s foremost human rights organisations came together with The National LGBT Federation to nominate for and sponsor the award.
The nominating organisations for the 2014 GALAS International Award are the National LGBT Federation, Front Line Defenders, and Amnesty International Ireland. The winner of the award will be chosen by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL).
The nominees are:
Claver Touré and Alternative – Côte d’Ivoire
Nominated by Amnesty International Ireland
Amnesty nominate Claver Touré and Alternative – Côte d’Ivoire for their courageous and tireless activism on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in Côte d’Ivoire in the face of ongoing harassment, intimidation and violent attacks.
Alternative Côte d’Ivoire – an organisation working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people (LGBTI) living with HIV – was ransacked by a mob of around 200 people. The building walls were daubed with graffiti saying “Non aux pédés (No to fags)”
When members of the organisation contacted the police they were accused of being homosexuals and working as pimps and told that the police had more important work to do.
The week preceding this attack, the house of the Director of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire, Claver Touré, was attacked in the area of Angré in Abidjan. A member of the security forces was reportedly among the attackers.
These recent attacks highlight the situation facing LGBTI people and activists in many parts of Africa today. Yet across the continent, a large and growing number of activists and organisations continue to fight for the human rights of LGBTI people.
Nominated by Front Line Defenders
Lena Klimova is one of the people currently facing prosecution under the new Propaganda of Homosexuality legislation in Russia.
Lena is a journalist based in Nizhny Tagil, and is the author of a series of articles on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) teenagers. In 2013, she set up an online community on Facebook and on the social networking site Vkontakte named Children-404, which provides a space for teenagers to discuss LGBTI issues and to support each other. The community also organises online discussions with leaders of the LGBTI movement.
The complaint against Lena Klimova as initiator of the Children-404 page was lodged by Mr. Vitaly Milonov, the member of the St. Petersburg City Parliament who sponsored the adoption of the ‘propaganda law’ at the municipal level in 2012. Lena Klimova was informed about the opening of the administrative case against her on 31 January 2014. She was previously summoned by police and interrogated in relation to Milonov’s complaint on 17 January 2014. The date of her trial is yet to be set.
Nominated by the National LGBT Federation
Yassin is one of Russia’s most respected gay-rights activists and has been at the forefront of opposition to the country’s increasingly discriminatory laws against LGBT people. He is involved with two Moscow-based networks: the Rainbow Association and the March for Equality Campaign.
Despite government opposition and violence from right-wing groups, the campaign held a series of public discussions and mass protests against homophobic laws, including the recent bill banning expressions of support for “non-traditional relationships”. Yassin has been attacked twice and receives regular threats because of his work.
The GALAS will take place in Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel on March 1, 2014 at 8pm.
Buy tickets here.
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