Activists from Central Asia address violence and discrimination against LGBT at OSCE

2018

Three LGBT activists from Central Asia and COC Nederland have participated in the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw from 10 to 14 September. For over 10 years, COC Nederland has been supporting activists from Central Asia and Eastern Europe to participate in this […]

Three LGBT activists from Central Asia and COC Nederland have participated in the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Warsaw from 10 to 14 September. For over 10 years, COC Nederland has been supporting activists from Central Asia and Eastern Europe to participate in this conference in which they are enabled to give voice to LGBT communities across the OSCE region. By organizing side events, speaking at plenary working sessions and in meetings with diplomatic missions, activists address human rights violations against LGBT people and remind participating states of their commitments to human rights for all under the OSCE framework.

Kyrgyz activist Aizhan Kadralieva from the LGBT organization Labrys reminds us of the importance of the international human rights commitments of the OSCE: “The OSCE is the only regional mechanism available to the LGBT community of Central Asia to address human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. We need to remind states of their commitments to guarantee us safety, security and non-discrimination, no matter where we live or who we love.”

The participating organizations have been documenting and addressing a wide scope of human rights violations against LGBT people in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In all four countries they reported cases of  “corrective” rape of lesbian and bisexual women and family violence, none of which are addressed by any of the governments. In Tajikistan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs  started creating lists of LGBT people in 2016, by which it allows police officers to track and hunt down LGBT people, arbitrarily arresting them, torturing and extorting them. In Uzbekistan, where same-sex conduct is still criminalized, police officers have been reported to kill trans women and gay men. While a gay man was being attacked and murdered by a crowd in public, the police stood by without taking any action. In Kyrgyzstan, police officers have raided a sex worker apartment after the Minister of Internal Affairs had made a statement about cleaning the city from sex workers. They were detained and exposed to humiliation and mockery. Police officers invited journalists to film them. Research from Kazakhstan shows that half of the Kazakh LGBT community has experienced violence or hate crimes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is clear that existing legislation and policies in these countries do not protect LGBT people from violence and discrimination, while incitements to violence and discrimination against LGBT people are on the rise under the influence of negative publications in media and ongoing impunity of attackers. More and more LGBT people from the region are forced to flee and seek refuge in third countries.

COC Nederland supports LGBT organizations from the Global South in working with international and regional human rights mechanisms to address human rights violations against LGBTI people. COC international policy officer Alexander Hammelburg: “We will continue to support LGBTI communities across the world. No matter how difficult it will be, we will always find a way.”