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African Rainbow Family

Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) People of African Heritage including Refugees and wider Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Group

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The Report: Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum

African Rainbow Family
A World Without Prejudice

Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum

On 11th August 2018 in Manchester, African Rainbow Family held our second annual conference, Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum.

The conference attracted delegates from diverse walks of life with speakers whom are  ‘Experts by Experience’ (our members), including speakers from the House of Lords – Baroness Liz Barker, European Parliament – Julie Ward MEP, Manchester City Council – Councillor Bev Craig , No5 Chambers – Barrister S. Chelvan, grassroot organisations such as The Outside Project – Carla Ecola, Safety4Sisters – Sandhya Sharma as well as LGBT Foundation – Sophie. The report from the conference is available here.

‘Experimental’ data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 – 31/03/17) shows that over two third of  3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected. 2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved (Home Office Asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation EXPERIMENTAL STATISTICS 2017).

“In view of the immense pressure placed on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum by a way of the high bar sexuality proof policy of the Home Office, people feel desperate to prove their sexuality and or gender identity hence fall prey to sexual predators, abusive relationships, modern day slavery and all sorts of abuse” says Aderonke Apata, LGBTIQ activist and Founder, African Rainbow Family. The full report can be accessed here. You can also DOWNLOAD now.

The conference also enjoyed good will and generosity from various individuals and organisations that sponsored different parts of the event.  Sponsors are The FederationCo-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma and Toby Bakare. We were also ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’, Greater Manchester Unite Social Action Branch, UNISON NW LGBT SELF ORGANISED GROUP and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group.

African Rainbow Family relies heavily on volunteers in delivering the essential work we do with LGBTIQ people seeking asylum. Should you feel like supporting our work to make practical social change, do consider donating here or contact us through info@africanrainbowfamily.org to discuss different options on how you might like to support our work.

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Press Release: LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

  • Conference exposes unreported sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and servitude  in LGBTIQ people seeking asylum community
  • Refugee speakers will tell of their experiences of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and domestic violence. Explore ongoing plight of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in UK
  • Conference will encourage victims to come forward for their voices to be heard
  • Call for Home Office to drop its high standard of proof sexuality policy

Manchester will host again, the second LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee conference today [11th August], shining the light on the extent of active and subtle sexual and  domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community in the UK. Mostly perpetrated by people who owe them duty of care.

The conference will, following the #METOO movement, feature LGBTIQ refugee speakers telling their personal experiences of abuse, exploring how the hostile environment which seeks to deport as many people as possible in order to meet Home Office’s  set targets, such as in the Windrush Generation; has reinforced a high standard of proof sexuality policy in the Home Office leading to many LGBTIQs being refused asylum and highlighting the plight still faced by LGBTIQ people seeking asylum today.

In many countries, particularly in Africa, homosexuality remains illegal and violent attacks on LGBTIQ people are common. Many are forced to flee, some to the UK, after being publicly ‘outed’.

Gay people seeking asylum coming to the UK face significant barriers. The Home Office culture of disbelief has meant that it refuses to accept that any LGBTIQ seeking asylum are homosexual unless they provide ‘proof of sexuality’. This position is an extremely toxic shift towards high number of deportation following the ruling in 2010 which prohibits the Home Office from deporting LGBTIQ people seeking asylum on the grounds that they could ‘be discreet’ about their sexuality in their home country to avoid harm.

We know that the Home Office has and continues to illegally and forcibly deport many LGBTIQ people seeking asylum through its brutal charter flight methods.

‘Experimental’ data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 – 31/03/17) shows that over two third of  3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected.
2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved.

The conference is being organised by African Rainbow Family (ARF), a charitable group that supports LGBTIQ people of African heritage and wider BAME in the UK. ARF works with the growing African LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee communities including wider BAME who face harassment, hate crimes and discrimination.
It will see a call on the Home Office to abandon its ‘high standard of proof sexuality policy, which ARF says is demeaning, humiliating, dehumanising, cruel and a driver of the culture of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation in their community.

Speakers will include:

  • Baroness Liz Barker, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords
  • Barrister S. Chelvan, LGBTIQ No5 Barristers’ Chambers, 2018 Attitude Awards
  • ‘Experts by Experience’ (LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and Refuge)
  • Paul Dillane, Chief Executive of Kaleidoscope Trust
  • Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West of England
  • Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter.
  • Bev Craig, Labour Councillor for Burnage
  • Aderonke Apata LGBTIQ campaigner and founder, African Rainbow Family

Aderonke Apata, Founder of the ARF and a long-term campaigner on LGBTIQ asylum, who is also speaking at the conference, said:

“We are starting a cultural revolution which forms a platform to inspire LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to come forward, tell their experiences of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and let their voices to be heard in order for us to see consequences in terms of their perpetrators who owe them a duty of care to be brought to justice.

“The Home Office’s high standard of proof policy drives a culture of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, modern day slavery and all forms of emotional, psychological and mental problems in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community

“I ask that the Home Office drops their high standard of proof in sexuality policy as well as the wider asylum applications.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

More information and tickets to the conference: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unreported-sexual-abuse-exploitation-of-lgbtiqs-seeking-asylum-uk-tickets-48018563817

More information about the African Rainbow Family: https://africanrainbowfamily.org/

For press request, contact: aderonkeapata@africanrainbowfamily.org and                                    info@africanrainbowfamily.org

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 72 countries and in 14 is punishable by lengthy imprisonment and in 8, death – including in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Pakistan.

Our sponsors:
The Federation Co-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group, we are ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’.

Meet Our Speakers At Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK 

 

 

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Meet Our Speakers! – African Rainbow Family Annual Conference, Manchester. 11/08/2018

The #MeToo unreported world of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refuge in the UK is real!

On Saturday, 11/8/2018, our amazing ‘Experts by Experience’ whom are members of African Rainbow Family (Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds branches) will share their personal realities of sexual abuse/exploitation, domestic abuse/violence, trafficking and modern day slavery.

Alongside our incredible friends and allies, Baroness Liz Barker, Carla Ecola, Julie Ward MEP, S Chelvan, Sandhya Sharma, Sophie Beer-O’Brien, Paul Dillane and Councillor Bev Craig; we would explore how to end these absurd practices. Read more about our speakers here. Robin Graham will entertain us too.

Join our WeAreHuman Manchester declaration campaign here.

Stonewall Uprising: Rooting For Love

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Press Release, 4th July 2016

On the the 28th June 2016, members of African Rainbow Family, ACT UP LONDON and over 5000 people gathered at the Trafalgar Square in London to celebrate love and commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and radical LGBTIQ resistance, love and unity! Details of event here. “The event largely regarded as a catalyst for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) liberation movement for civil rights”, It’s astonishing therefore, that consensual same-sex relationships amongst adults are still widely criminalised in about a third of the world’s population. About 75 countries criminalise homosexuality, 53 of these are from the Commonwealth where all of African Rainbow Family members flee from following the wave of homophobia whipped against them.

It was an opportunity for our members to really celebrate Stonewall Uprising which saw lesbian gay bisexual transgender intersex queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+ ) community standing up and shutting down state repression, homophobia, trans misogyny and racism. The legacy, that we all enjoy today. It was an amazing experience to be part of history not to let fall the passion, resistance and bravery of our brothers, sisters, siblings who fought for the rights we enjoy now! They demanded “equality for homosexuals”, “Gay Power” and “Freedom Now”!

African Rainbow Family at the event, demanded that The Prime Minister, David Cameron and his government, The Foreign Office and Department for International Development (DfID) should as a matter of urgency put their words into practice and act thus:

  • Make available Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) nationwide to people who wish to have access to it; as promised by David Cameron.
  • Protect LGBT asylum seekers, grant them sanctuary in the UK and shut down detention centres.
  • Use their influence in engageing with the 40n out of the 53 Commonwealth countries that still criminalise consensual adult same-sex relationships to repeal such laws as the first step in changing cultural attitudes towards LGBT people.
  • Adopt the recommendations of the newly published inquiry report into The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights by The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights (APPG LGBT).

We took the message of love, solidarity and struggle and Root For Love in Trafalgar Square. Built a community committed to radical grassroots protests and empowerment for the whole community as all injustices are connected. “No single issue-struggle” – Audre Lorde.

We would like to thank those who donated generously and sponsored our members on this trip to celebrate diversity through song, dance, spoken words and sequins whilst challenging outdated perceptions, xenophobia, healthcare austerity and bigotry!

We continually fight for justice and building a strong contingent to counter LGBT discrimination, austerity HIVphobia, gender based violence, anti-black racism, double standards of political and religious leaders and LGBT xenophobia that still continue to attack our community. You made it possible for us to:

  • Pay tributes to founders of true radical LGBTIQA+ liberation
  • Have a feel of how liberation as LGBTIQ people was made a dream come true!
  • Unite in a joyful protest to send good tides to homophobic, repressive and draconian governments of countries where people are still criminalise for LOVE.
  • Spur our members who come from countries with repressive draconian laws against LGBTIQ people to think of how they could influence change in their different countries and one day achieve their liberation and freedom to be whom they are and equal before the laws of their lands.
  • Raise awareness and retell the story of the historic Stonewall Uprising once again in our communities in the UK.
  • Attract the media, encourage schools to engage in how the freedom of equality we enjoy today in the UK came about.

End.

For enquiries and media interests please contact:

info@africanrainbowfamily.org or www.africanrainbowfamily.org

UK Parliament Urges For More Actions To Tackle Serious Breaches of LGBT Rights Globally

Press Release

14th April 2016 UK.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights (APPG LGBT) that recently had an inquiry into breaches of LGBT rights worldwide which African Rainbow Family and Aderonke Apata contributed to, has today, published its first report on  UK stance on international breaches of LGBT rights.

We welcome the findings and recommendations of APPG LGBT report particularly as it recognises that in the Home Office concerning LGBT asylum seekers: “The decision-making process needs to be improved in assessing LGBT asylum cases through improved staff training, potentially appointing specialist caseworkers for LGBT asylum cases. The policy guidance on gender identity claims needs to be reviewed”.

The need to offer protection to LGBT asylum seekers by the UK is equally paramount says members of African Rainbow Family who collectively say:

“We flee from these countries that this report has identified to breach our rights as LGBT people but we find it difficult why we are often not believed when we claim asylum in the UK based on our sexual orientation and gender identity due to our fears of persecution back in our home countries! We face the threat of deportation to violence from the UK, we hope this report will make a dramatic change in the handling of our claims, stop detaining us and subjecting us to more torture in the UK”

The report also goes to say “Voluntary groups fighting for LGBT rights in hostile environments around the world need more support from the UK, including the government, NGOs and businesses”. The report urges for “more practical support and funding for LGBT groups on the ground, as well as greater strategic co-ordination across government, to improve the effectiveness of British action”.

The group, which is supported by more than 100 MPs and Peers across the political parties, also calls for a clearly accountable figure to be appointed in Whitehall with the responsibility for co-ordinating and implementing a cross-government strategy.

The report states that 75 countries criminalise same-sex activity between consenting adults, accounting for 2.9 billion people or 40 per cent of the world’s population.  The punishment for these offences can be severe, with penalties ranging from lashings, life imprisonment and, in eight countries, death.  Over 400 million people live under laws which punish same-sex sexual activity with the death penalty.

Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family, a Nigerian human right activist and LGBT Equality advocate in her reaction to the report says:

“It is a good report, the scope of its finding is wide-ranged and recommendations are encouraging. The bane of it all is in the implementation of its recommendations. Don’t forget that most of these countries that criminalise LGBT people inherited these anti LGBT laws from their colonial master, Britain. It is imperatively important therefore, that the UK apologises for the pains and agony caused to LGBT people as a resultant of this archaic law.

Consultations and partnership collaboration need to be established by the UK government and LGBT citizens/activists of these countries including local civil rights group to ensure issues of  breaches of the rights of LGBT people are  addressed in an holistic manner. I urge the APPG LGBT group not to allow their hard work get swept under the carpet or allow this innovative report gather dust on the shelve”. Aderonke continues.

The APPG LGBT says “Beyond a vulnerability to violence, the report finds that LGBT people in countries which are hostile to their rights face a range of challenges, including economic and social exclusion and restricted access to health and other vital services.

The 60-page report is the first produced by the APPG LGBT which was set up by parliamentarians from across the political parties in June last year.  The group initiated a major inquiry into LGBT rights abuses, receiving submissions from over 40 organisations and individuals, and holding detailed oral evidence sessions at Westminster. The full report, including a summary of recommendations, can be found here

For more information, contact info@africanrainbowfamily.org

ENDS

 

A Case for HIV/AIDS Pandemic and Decriminalising Homosexuality

Press Release

06/02/2016

Slide2

ACT UP! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT AIDS! UNTIL THERE IS AN HIV / AIDS CURE FOR ALL!

In a ‘SILENCE = 40’ CAMPAIGN LAUNCH held in London on 5th Feb. 2016 by our friend ACT UP London in collaboration with African Rainbow Family and other  coalition of social justice movements such as musicians, activists, lawyers and politicians from the diaspora LGBTQI / HIV community living in Britain, members of African Rainbow Family shared their stories, informed, inspired and mobilised people to join in decriminalising homosexuality in order to reduce the HIV/AIDS pandemic experienced worldwide.

Our campaign to fight the criminalisation of homosexuality in the 40 Commonwealth countries across the world which drives increased infection rates and increased stigma (with a focus on ending criminalisation in the 76 countries where it is illegal) was re-awoken by many other voices as-well as the news of the bill to criminalise gay sex in India failing more poignant than ever.

Nigerian LGBTQIA+ activist, Aderonke Apata, who is currently campaigning to repeal Nigeria’s anti-gay law said “We know not, how many people are infected or dying of HIV/AIDS, and from prejudice-incited murder and oppression. On the topic of HIV/ AIDS transmission, diagnosis and treatment, Aderonke stressed, “There are no accurate statistics, due to social, legal, and cultural barriers (stigma, discrimination, sexual status and gender inequality). Nonetheless, we have access to stats from UNAIDS: in 2013 nearly 25 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa – that’s 71% of the global total. 1.5 million new infections were recorded. There were 1.1 million AIDS related deaths and 39% of adults were on antiretroviral treatment. Data on men who have sex with men (MSM) is extremely limited.”

Farooq

Farooq Muhammad of African Rainbow Family said:

“Access to healthcare system for all is a fundamental human rights, hence it is important for everyone to be able to access it. He also called for homosexuality to be decriminalised as this will ease the barriers limiting LGBTIQ people coming forward in countries that criminalise homosexuality to have access to testing, detecting and treatments of HIV/AIDS”.

 

 

Submitted Evidence to UK All Party Parliamentary Party Group (LGBT) – Homophobic Situation in Nigeria

“The role that UK parliamentarians can play in championing LGBT rights worldwide and responding when such rights are threatened with particular respect to the homophobic anti-gay law in Nigeria. (DOWNLOAD the report)

Slide2As part of our ongoing campaign to repeal the toxic Nigeria anti-gay law, we responded to The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global LGBT Rights’ request for evidence into its new major inquiry into breaches of LGBT rights worldwide on Tuesday 20 July 2015. The final report is expected to recommend a series of measures that the UK government, businesses and NGOs can take to enhance LGBT rights worldwide. More details here.

Our campaign to repeal Nigeria anti-gay law informed our stance to contribute to the success of the inquiry. A firsthand written evidence was submitted to The APPG LGBT within its six themes. See inquiry’s full Terms of Reference here.

Our submission titled “The role that UK parliamentarians can play in championing LGBT rights worldwide and responding when such rights are threatened with particular respect to the homophobic anti-gay law in Nigeria” is available for download.

The following recommendations were made to the inquiry:

  • Pressure Nigerian government to repeal the anti-gay law which is the first step in a long journey. Same applies to other such countries.
  • UK government to provide protection and sanctuary to LGBTI people fleeing Nigeria and other such homophobic countries until such a time that their mindset, religious and cultural beliefs improve.
  • Work with local LGBTI civil society organisations and human rights defenders to raise more awareness in Nigeria and such other countries to better understand inequalities faced by LGBTIs.
  • Work with indigenous groups to counter the rhetoric fed by religious leaders within and outside Nigeria and other countries.
  • At every opportunity, make the stand of the UK government known to Nigeria government and its officials.

ARF Submitted Evidence to UK All Party Parliamentary Party Group (LGBT)

“The role that UK parliamentarians can play in championing LGBT rights worldwide and responding when such rights are threatened with particular respect to UK Asylum Seekers” – DOWNLOAD African Rainbow Family’s Submission to APPG LGBT on Global LGBT rights.

publicity2.jpgThe All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global LGBT Rights recently (Tuesday 20 July 2015) announced a major new inquiry into breaches of LGBT rights worldwide. The final report is expected to recommend a series of measures that the UK government, businesses and NGOs can take to enhance LGBT rights worldwide.

In order to help the inquiry, The APPG LGBT sought written evidence from any interested party on: The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights to initially inform oral evidence sessions and provide a foundation for the group’s first report, which will in turn inform future work. Details can be read here.

African Rainbow Family welcomes this great initiative and made its submission to The APPG LGBT.  The inquiry covered responses on six different themes. The full Terms of Reference is available here.

African Rainbow Family addressed the theme: “The role that UK parliamentarians can play in championing LGBT rights worldwide and responding when such rights are threatened”. Our submission was made with particular respect to UK Asylum Seekers which is available for reading or download here

 

 

 

 

 

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