|Worldwide Campaign for Freedom of Expression|
by Redaktie in General , 02 December 2017
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The freedom of expression and civil society are being restricted all over the world. This also negatively affects LGBTI organisations and activists. Together with civil society organizations from all over the world, united in the CIVICUS alliance, COC is campaigning under the motto SPEAK!
LGBTI activists are often more vulnerable to restrictions on the freedom of speech, as they are often are in danger when defending their rights. Homosexual acts are punishable by law in 72 countries worldwide. In recent years, regimes in various countries have tried to increase punishment levels or come up with other ways to make it impossible for LGBTI organisations to carry out their work. In Algeria, Lithuania, Nigeria and the Russian Federation, to name a few, by banning so-called ‘gay propaganda’.
LGBTI activists and communities often become scapegoats, and their fundamental freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration are further restricted. Their work is made almost impossible by police arrests and raids of LGBTI organizations and meetings, a tightening of financial supervision, banning the registration of LGBTI organizations, or by prohibiting Prides.
Internationally, COC Netherlands is working with LGBTI activists in dozens of countries to put an end to these abuses and establish LGBTI (human) rights. This is achieved by setting up and legally registering LGBTI organizations, forming communities, and developing social and political campaigns. The COC is also working alongside these organisations to expose these violations of civil and human LGBTI rights in international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe or the Organization of African Unity.
SPEAK! is an initiative of CIVICUS, a global alliance of organizations in civil society. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the global threats to fundamental civil and human rights, as well as strengthening mutual solidarity. SPEAK! has been consciously set up to coincide with the second anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals. World leaders are currently meeting in New York during the United Nations General Assembly to discuss these goals. SPEAK! will send them the signal that the voice of ordinary people is essential in achieving a sustainable world for everyone.
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