LGBT Organization ‘Labrys’ responds to police visits

The past weeks have been hectic and I was in and out of the country which probably is noticeable on the blog.  The most interesting information flow that I am coming across everyday is how LGBT Organization ‘Labrys’ is responding to the police visits that it has encountered in the past weeks. The first raid which happened two weeks ago received a lot of responses and reactions because it was an official event with guests from Dutch donor organizations and because Labrys acted on the situation using international human rights protection mechanisms.  Labrys contacted Human Rights Watch and used UN Special Procedures to address the issue. Human Rights Watch issued an official press release condemning the police raid while the UN sent a note to Kyrgyz Ministry of International Affairs.  

The press release has a photo of the district police officer who lead the raid and it was put on the wall in the community center to be shown to other police who might want to raid the center.  The community center staff has a strategy to deal with new visits and list of contacts of people and organization who could help in case of police visit. There are two duty staff at nights and Labrys is in high alert due to possible revenge from the police which other human rights activists warned Labrys about.  Meanwhile the reactions to the visit are coming from all over the world with LGBT organizations expressing solidarity and asking what they can do about the situation.

In my opinion the reactions and the impact that the information has made will improve Labrys advocacy because the Kyrgyz human rights activists who usually do not relate LGBT matters to their priority work can now understand that LGBT activists experience the same harrassment and pressure from the state that the other organizations do.  Also Labrys realized that there is a lot of support from both within and outside of Kyrgyzstan and will be more active in its advocacy work.   

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