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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 Groups

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Commonwealth Summit

A Case for HIV/AIDS Pandemic and Decriminalising Homosexuality

Press Release

06/02/2016

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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”.

 

 

Commonwealth Summit in Malta urged to back LGBTI equality

For 66 years, the Commonwealth has refused to even discuss LGBTI rights 

London, UK 26 November 2015

Members of African Rainbow Family group and other fifty people rallied outside the London headquarters of the Commonwealth, two days before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta. Watch the video coverage here.

They were demanding that all Commonwealth member states “decriminalise homosexuality and legislate equal rights for their LGBTI citizens, in accordance with the human rights principles of the Commonwealth Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The LGBTI rally in London urged the Commonwealth to:

  1. Put LGBTI issues on the agenda at CHOGM in Malta and invite LGBTI organisations to participate
  2. Set a timetable for Commonwealth countries to decriminalise homosexuality and legislate legal protection against anti-LGBTI discrimination and hate crime
  3. Establish on-going consultations and partnerships with LGBTI organisations in the member states
  4. Promote adherence to the Commonwealth Charter and international human rights conventions that protect the rights of all citizens, including LGBTI citizens

Aderonke Apata, a Nigerian refugee and founder of African Rainbow Family, which promotes LGBTIQ equality globally, said:

“The situation for LGBTI people in the 40 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries that criminalise homosexuality is getting worse. In Nigeria, for example, as well as 14 years imprisonment, same-sex relations also carry the penalty of death by stoning in some regions of the country where Sharia law prevails. In the last couple of years, Nigeria has introduced draconian new jail terms for organising, funding and belonging to LGBTIQ organisations – and for advocating LGBTIQ equality.

“A wave of homophobia is being whipped up constantly against LGBTIQ people and anyone working with or supporting them. Many LGBTIQ people have fled Commonwealth countries in search of safety elsewhere. They have been driven out as a result of mob attacks, police harassment, eviction from their homes and job refusals and dismissals. Those who remain face grave state and non-state persecution,” she said.

“Many of the anti-gay laws in the Commonwealth were imposed by Britain in the nineteenth century, during the era of colonial occupation. But this is no excuse for now independent self-governing nations to perpetuate foreign-dictated homophobic legislation,” said Mr Tatchell of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Most of these countries inherited their anti-gay laws from Britain when it was their colonial ruler. They are a colonial hang-over. The existence of these anti-gay laws over the last century has created a climate where many people believe that homophobic attitudes and laws are a part of their cultures,” said Edwin Sesange, Director of the African LGBTI organisation, the Out and Proud Diamond Group.

More details here

Rally Against LGBTI Persecutions In Commonwealth Nations

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Stand in solidarity with all Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people from The Commonwealth Nations who are persecuted due to their sexual orientation and or gender identity to demand equal rights and justice on Wednesday 25th November at The Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX  at 12:30pm. Nearest tubes: Green Park & Piccadilly Circus.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM Malta2015) takes place in Malta from 27-29 November. Summit theme: The Commonwealth – Adding Global Value. It’s important that we call on the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOG) to take action and decriminalise homosexuality in all of their 40 countries out of the 53 that criminalise homosexuality.  Criminalising homosexuality is against the Commonwealth Charter 2013 and other international conventions that guarantee the rights of all citizens including those of LGBTIs  which member states sign up to uphold.

Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family that promotes LGBTIQ Equality globally says:

“The situation for LGBTI people in the 40 out of the 53 commonwealth countries that criminalise homosexuality is getting worse. It is more dire in some commonwealth countries. In Nigeria for example, apart from 14 years imprisonment, it also carries death penalty by stoning. Others include Cameroon, Uganda and Gambia.

The wave of homophobia is whipped up constantly against homosexuals including any one suspected to be one or working with them. Many have fled their countries in search of safety elsewhere as a result of mob attacks, homelessness, loss of employments, lack of health care services, state and non state persecution whilst those whom haven’t are constantly persecuted” she continues.

Join us next week Wednesday, 25th to demand equal rights and justice for our brothers and sisters who are oppressed by these homophobic commonwealth countries.

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