Nearly half of the world’s countries do not allow LGBTQ groups to organize without threat of arrest or state violence, a new report has found.
Just 56% of countries—109 out of 194—freely allow such groups, according to data analysis from LGBTQ organization OutRight Action International, published on Tuesday.
"When states suppress LGBTIQ organizations, they are really trying to stop LGBTIQ people from gaining basic human rights and equality.” ~ Maria Sjödin, Deputy ED on @OutRightIntl's latest report on #LGBTIQ groups banned from organizing. https://t.co/Ap9g4zawtw #HumanRights pic.twitter.com/eZ5z4ypGKK
— OutRight (@OutRightIntl) August 7, 2018
The survey found 55 countries where LGBTQ advocacy groups exist, but cannot receive state authorization, such as in Lebanon and Russia. Meanwhile, Outright could not find any such groups in existence in 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Somalia, in some cases banning them, Reuters notes.
“This is a way of hindering and trying to stop any kind of progress or push for equality that LGBT groups want to do,” Maria Sjödin, deputy executive director of OutRight, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Jean Chong, co-founder of Sayoni, an LGBTQ rights organization based in Singapore, said it is difficult to operate without official sanctioning.
“It is impossible to get an office space and you cannot ask for donations publicly as you are not a legal entity,” Chong noted.
While it is possible to formerly register as an LGBTQ group in Singapore, activists are reportedly often blocked in those efforts, leading many to instead register under broader terms, such as general human rights organizations.
“I truly believe that change in society happens because people organize and push for it. That is how greater equality for LGBT people has been achieved,” said Sjödin.