This week, millions saw this dramatic photo of a gay man beaten by neo-Nazi extremists in Kiev, Ukraine. It’s shocking, but the anti-gay movement doesn’t stop there. As early as this week, Ukraine’s legislature is expected to vote in favor of new laws that will make it illegal to be gay or lesbian in public.
President Viktor Yanukovych is the person with the power to stop the law in its tracks. He’s been trying to forge a “special alliance” with the European Union for years and this Friday an EU delegation focusing on human rights will visit Ukraine to advance the alliance process.
40,000 Europeans have already signed on to tell Yanukovych to block this atrocious law. But that’s just not enough - we need to double that number before the meeting on Friday. If we don’t push him to speak out now, an entire generation will be forced into the shadows.
Will you help us reach 100,000 signers around the world in the next two days? If we hit the goal, All Out will partner with our friends in Ukraine in a dramatic delivery that President Yanukovych cannot ignore:
We’ve seen this before. Just like in St Petersburg Russia, the bill Ukrainian politicians are pushing makes it a crime to write or speak anything considered “homosexual propaganda”. Over 30,000 Europeans have already signed a petition letting Yanukovych know that if he wants to partner with their countries, he must block this atrocious law. If we join with those already taking action in Europe, we can make this the biggest global protest in Ukrainian history.
In two weeks, Euro 2012 (Europe’s football championship) is being hosted by Ukraine. Several large and influential countries have threatened to boycott if Ukraine doesn’t clean up it’s act on human rights. Yet, Yanukovych has stayed silent as anti-gay sentiment grows across Ukraine. If he doesn’t speak out now, an entire generation will be forced into the shadows.
This hateful law is moving silently under the radar and is set to pass. With only two days before the EU delegation arrives and only another week until Euro 2012 kicks off, we can really turn up the heat on Yanukovych to denounce this law.
Yanukovych’s legacy is at stake - let’s make sure he knows it:
Thanks for going All Out.
Andre, Guillaume, Hayley, Jasmin, Jeremy, Michael, Tile and Wesley
Daily Mail: Thugs attack head of gay rights group
Kyiv Post: Violence against gays captured for the whole world to see
The Ukrainian Week: A Taste of Isolation
Operation Relocation, the urgent removal of 30 young Iraqis who had been marked for death just for looking “gay”, has already begun with the first seven Iraqis now on their way.
Here’s one testimonial from someone yet to be transported to safety. It’s hard to hear, but important to share:
“I am in hiding in Baghdad because people found out I am gay, and I fear being beaten badly and killed. There are many of us now. We are sick of the unbelievable and continual hardships in our lives. We can’t get work. Our community rejects us all. People just don’t want us and have no mercy upon us.”
To learn more, go to http://www.allout.org/en/actions/operation_relocation
30 in Iraq are “marked for death” because of who they are and who they love.
Will you consider making a small contribution to help dozens of gay Iraqis get to safe houses and start a new life where they can live openly?
Yousif* is one of 30 Iraqis currently marked for death because he’s perceived to be gay. He just had his skull smashed with a pipe, but he’s one of the lucky ones; he survived. Yousif and the others must now leave their homes and families in order to escape certain death.
Our partners at the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) want to put an experienced team on the ground to quickly smuggle Yousif to safety. They need $65,000 USD this week to do it, but governments and foundations are moving too slow. That’s where we come in. If you and other All Out members chip in, we can charter transport vans and open up safe houses to protect Yousif and the others THIS WEEK.
IRAP is ready to move. If we pull together right now, we will make sure Yousif and the 30 others get to a safe place and have a chance at a new life. Will you chip in a small amount - whatever you can - to support this life saving mission? We will get your contribution directly to those at risk, then report back in a few days to keep you updated:
All Out does not usually ask for money. But this situation was so serious, we knew we had to find a way to help. Here are the testimonials that convinced us to share this unique and heartbreaking story with you. It was just impossible to look away:
Naseer* is being blackmailed for his sexual orientation in the wake of having been assaulted and raped by the Iraqi police in Baghdad. Naseer’s blackmailer has threatened to send a picture of Naseer with another man to Naseer’s family and friends - causing Naseer to fear that he wil be killed either by his family or milita groups. Naseer needs to leave Baghdad immediately. Will you help IRAP support Naseer’s relocation to a safe house on the road to permanent resettlement?
Rasul* lives in Dora, a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad that is only slightly safer than other neighborhoods in the city. Rasul lives at his boyfriend’s house, which he is too scared to leave because of the violent threats against gay men in Iraq - and his brothers’ threats to kill him for being gay. Rasul says he can’t live in Iraq because it isn’t safe for him. He is gay, his brothers know it, and they are threatening to kill him if they find him. Will you help IRAP support Rasul’s relocation to a safe house on the road to permanent resettlement?
We started All Out last year to ensure that everyone can live openly without sacrificing their safety or dignity. We know we can’t save every person at risk in Iraq, but right now we know how we can help and your support is critical. If we deliver Yousif, Naseer, Rasul and others to a safe place, we can save their lives and move the international community to take broader action. They will finally have a chance to tell the story of what’s happening to gays, lesbians and others who are labeled as “different” inside Iraq.
Right now Yousif*, the man who narrowly escaped death in an anti-gay attack, tells us that staying in Iraq is a death sentence. If the All Out community can raise $65,000 USD in the next few hours, our partners at IRAP can swiftly relocate him and dozens of other gay and lesbian Iraqis. But only if we act now:
Alberto, Andre, Erika, Flavia, Guillaume, Jasmin, Jeremy, Joseph, Oli, Tile, Wesley
P.S. The names we’ve used in this email are fake, to protect people’s lives, but the stories are real.
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
Threats and Killings Striking Fear Among Young Iraqis, Including Gays
Iraq: Investigate ‘Emo’ Attacks
Ahmed, Gay Iraqi Man, Describes Escaping Death Sentence, Prison Rape In Emotional Video
“Kill lists” for “looking gay” in Iraq?