Queer Amnesty Ireland is a new activist group of Amnesty Ireland, established in October 2020. It is made up of a diverse number of people from the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland, all with a shared vision and goal of working together to make Ireland and the wider world a more fair, equal and safer place for all.
LGBTQ+ rights across the world are threatened and international solidarity and action are urgently needed. From the introduction of LGBTQ+ free zones in Poland to the banning of pride marches in Turkey to the violence that trans people face all over the world, there is so much work still to be done to protect LGBTQ+ rights.
The current campaign that we are focused on as a group is aiming for the acquittal of the METU Pride Defenders in Turkey. In 1996, students at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, formed a group to ensure that the university is a safe space for LGBTQ+ people and to advocate for their rights. Against the backdrop of increasing homophobia in Turkey, METU students have marched through their campus each year to celebrate Pride and demand equality and dignity for LGBTI+ people.
On 10 May 2019, a Pride sit-in at Middle East Technical University was violently broken up by police. This was in response to the University’s controversial ban on the 2019 Pride march. Recently, an administrative court has overturned the university’s unlawful ban.
— Queer Amnesty Ireland (@QueerAmnestyIE) December 5, 2020
But in 2019, the university banned the Pride march on campus and called the police on the students. As they peacefully sat on the lawn, students were met with pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas. Several were injured, many detained. Recently, an administrative court has overturned the university’s unlawful ban. Yet 18 students and one academic are on trial for “unlawful assembly” and “failing to disperse despite being warned”. No one should be convicted for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Today, on Human Rights Day the trial was scheduled to go ahead, and instead, it has been postponed to April 2021, and no decision has been made on the fate of these activists.
We in Queer Amnesty Ireland are demanding the acquittal of the METU Pride Defenders and call on the public to join us in spreading awareness and signing our petition, which can be found here.
We will continue supporting Pride Defenders in Turkey and all LGBTQI + rights across the globe. We hope for the group to continue to grow over time, and welcome everyone to follow our social media, keep in touch, and continue to help us spread awareness and fight for human rights.
Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @QueerAmnestyIE
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