Around the world, LGBTI rights defenders are threatened, harassed and attacked as a result of their peaceful and legitimate human rights work. The situation in Honduras, one of the most violent country in the world, has drastically deteriorated since the 2009 coup, with 101 crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity committed between 2010 and 2012. In Macedonia, the pervasive climate of violence against LGBTI is encouraged by repeated verbal attacks in the media by government officials and non-state actors and a widespread impunity for homophobic attacks.
With the new campaign RADIOHRD, LGBTI rights defenders attempt to increase their recognition and capacity to carry out their work by sharing a clear message on Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in each country: societal attitudes and institutional frameworks that lead to violence and discrimination have to change.
This new campaign utilizes radio as one of the most powerful tools for awareness raising and reform. “In a time where technologies of information play an increasingly important role in the processes of social change, we find that the radio is still the most reliable, trusted and widely used media amongst all sectors of society all around the world, and Honduras and Macedonia are no exception to this”, explains Kocho Andonovski, Programme Director of the LGBTI Support Centre in Macedonia,“The demand to stop violence and respect of human rights both by state and non-state actors needs to be upheld by the whole society”. Through this awareness raising campaign, eight human rights defenders give their testimony to illustrate the reality faced by the LGBTI communities and those working to promote their rights and end violence and discrimination.
Over the coming months, national and local radio stations in Macedonia and Honduras will broadcast the series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs), short radio spots aimed to promote the recognition that LGBTI rights defenders are engaged in legitimate and valuable work to promote human rights. The campaign will also be broadcasted via the website www.radiohrd.org, where video interviews, petitions in support of the defenders and further information are also available.
This new tactic for impacting public opinion serves to increase the security of defenders by enhancing their visibility and recognition and provides a platform to promote their human rights work as too often the voices of human rights defenders are discredited and marginalised.
Front Line Defenders is an Irish-based international human rights organization that provides rapid, practical support to human rights defenders at risks and campaigns to promote their security and recognition. It is supporting local human rights defenders organisations in Honduras and Macedonia for the campaign. ACI-Particpa is a non-governamental organisation based in Honduras dedicated to the empowerment and capacity building of Honduran civil society and citizenship. The LGBTI Support Centre is a branch office of the Helsinki Committee for human rights of the Republic of Macedonia, dedicated to advancing the rights of LGBTI people through advocacy, free legal aid, awareness raising and the coordination of support groups.