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Badr Baabou

HRD, Founder & Director
DAMJ
Global Laureate & MENA Regional Winner, Front Line Defenders Award
2019

Badr Baabou Acceptance Speech, 2019 Front Line Defenders Award

This award transcends this humble being standing in front of you; it is for those who have been always excluded by the central authority to be thrown in the void and pushed into the margin only for being different, for being born with different sexual orientations and with distinguished gender identities.

As a social activist, I’ve always believed in human rights and in the essential need for everybody to enjoy an equal and just life.

Badr Baabou is a Tunisian human rights defender from the city of Gabes in the southern Tunisia. He is the co-founder and Chairman of the organisation Damj (the Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality) and the co-chair of the M-Coalition, the only regional HIV/AIDS advocacy network devoted to the needs of LGBT+ community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Since 2002 he has dedicated himself to working for the LGBT+ community in Tunisia and as a direct result of his human rights work, Baabou has been the target of physical and online threats and attacks. In 2018, his home which doubles as a meeting point for Damj, was raided and vandalised, his belongings and property containing sensitive Damj information were stolen. Despite the risks, Baabou is determined to continue his work to achieve justice and equality for the LGBT+ community both in Tunisia and across the MENA region.

Tunisia

In Tunisia, homosexuality is officially punishable by imprisonment, but since the revolution in 2011, civil society has gained a foothold, and there is more space for groups calling for the rights of the LGBT+ community to operate. However, as LGBT+ people in Tunisia are becoming more visible, homophobic attacks have also increased, and there have been public calls to violence against community members.

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2019 Front Line Defenders Global Laurate - Badr Baabou, Tunisia