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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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Human right

Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK

Unreported! Sexual/Domestic Abuse, Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of LGBTIQ People Seeking Asylum in UK

With the current #MeToo movement, it is important to bring to the fore, that often times than none, majority of people seeking asylum are also subjected to various forms of sexual and domestic abuse from their partners and sexual exploitation from people who owe them duty of care.

It is important that we are not complacent and therefore ignore or loose scope of the bigger picture which entraps a large proportion of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refuge’s community in the UK; whom have suffered sexual and domestic violence in the hands of their own family members which might necessarily include their partners.

Join African Rainbow Family on 11/08/2018 at our one day annual conference that will highlight the extent of active and subtle sexual / domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community. It is often thought that LGBTIQ people generally do not experience domestic abuse let alone people seeking asylum that have multiple intersectional identities.

Book your free tickets here.

The asylum and immigration process is however ever ganging and complex. The onus of proof is on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in an hostile environment engrossed with deep rooted culture of disbelief that seeks to deport as many as possible just as in the Windrush Generation scandal.

As a result of the high standard of proof for LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to ‘proof’ their sexuality in order to be qualified for refugee status, many have been forced into abusive relationships whom they are forced to stick with for the period of their asylum applications being assessed and determined which could run into a year, two or more to resolve.

Most worryingly is the scale of sexual abuse and exploitation that takes place within LGBTIQ asylum seeking support groups by the staff/volunteers that run these groups. These volunteers and or staff owe the fragile survivors seeking asylum duty of care and not to take advantage of their vulnerability to sexually exploit them in the name of writing support letters for them to the Home Office to attest to their sexuality.

Our conference, Unreported! will involve people seeking asylum speak about our experiences of sexual abuse and violence that we have experienced and are still experiencing. Workshops on signs of sexual abuse and supports available for victims.

Speakers in the field of sexual and domestic abuse will share their knowledge and how the LGBTIQ asylum seeking community can be supported. Come up with solutions on how to tackle the above, send strong unacceptable messages out to asylum seeking support groups that are sexually exploiting and predating us, their members, make recommendations and call on the UK Home Office to review their policies that are set up for people to fail.

This conference is free however, we appreciate your generosity. Donate here

Speakers:

‘Experts by experience’ (LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and Refuge):

Veecca Smith Uka 

Veecca Smith Uka  is a lesbian woman and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Nigeria who is seeking safety in the UK based on her sexual orientation. Veecca is also the Secretary of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

 

Arnold Keungmeue Nzetem:

Arnold Keungmeue Nzetem is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Central Africa Republic who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Arnold is also the Financial Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Joy Otabor 

Joy Otabor  is a lesbian woman and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Nigeria who is seeking safety in the UK based on her sexual orientation. Joy is also the Campaign Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

 

Jean Francois Pondy

Jean Francois Pondy is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Cameroon who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Jean Francois is also the Publicity and Media Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Abdullahi Oluwatosin Soneye

Abdullahi Oluwatosin Soneye is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Nigeria who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Abdullahi is also the Assistant Financial Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Jean- Pierre Bilitik Mback

Jean- Pierre Bilitik Mback  is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Cameroon who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Jean- Pierre is also the Assistant Volunteer Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

 

 

Charbel Fabrice NonyemeAboua  

Charbel Fabrice NonyemeAboua is a gay man from Benin Republic  who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Fabrice is a member of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

 

Kate Hendickson

Kate Hendickson is a trans woman from Trinidad and Tobago who has been granted safety in the UK based on her gender identity. Kate is a member of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

 

Lot Hongonekua

Lot Hongonekua is a gay man from Namibian who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Lot is a member of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Aderonke Apata

Aderonke Apata is a multi awards winner human rights activist, feminist, LGBTIQ equality advocate and the founder of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

 

Baroness Liz Barker: 

Baroness Liz Barker is a Liberal Democrat Lords. She’s a Spokesperson for Voluntary Sector and Social Enterprise and a member of Liberal Democrat Policy Working Group on Liberty, Social Mobility, Status of Women, Future of the Voluntary Sector. Baroness Liz Barker has been on different Parliamentary Committees including Draft Mental Incapacity Bill, Draft Mental Health Bill, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Select Committee on Charities. Her policy interests include Asylum, immigration and nationality, Communities and families,  Health services and medicine, HIV, Housing and planning, LGBT and rights and equity, Population development and reproductive health and Social services.

Baroness Liz Barker has especially been a vocal voice on challenging the detention of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in the UK. She is a very passionate ally of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum as she amplifies in the Parliament at every opportunity, the need for the government to make genuine reforms to the LGBTIQ asylum application process.

S. Chelvan:

S. Chelvan, Barrister, No5 Barristers’ Chambers, 2018 Attitude Awards.

 

 

Carla Ecola:

Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter. A grassroots project developed by people with lived experience of homelessness & the complex issues our community face.

 

Sandhya Sharma

Sandhya Sharma is a member of Safety4Sisters North West a Manchester based group that works with migrant women who have experienced gender based violence and have immigration issues.

Julie Ward MEP:

Julie Ward is a Labour MEP for the North West of England. She is also a writer, theatre-maker and cultural activist who began her working life on the factory floor before becoming a community arts worker and co-founder of a successful SME in the north of England, subsequently being named NE Woman Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. Julie was elected in 2014 and is a member of the European Parliament’s committees on Culture and Education, Regional Development and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. She’s a board member of the European Internet Forum, and a founding member of the European Caucus of Women in Parliament – a global forum.

Julie is also a children’s rights champion, having co-founded the European Parliament cross-party intergroup on Children’s Rights. She is also active on a number of other intergroups including Lifelong Learning, Disability, Youth, Common Goods & Public Services, Creative Industries, LGBTI, Anti-Poverty, Trade Unions and Social Economy, as well a Culture and Education committee representative to the inter-committee network on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Julie has a Masters in Education from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is the Labour Party’s spokesperson on education, sport and culture in Europe.

Robin Graham

Robin Graham has been leading laughter workshops and icebreakers since 1999 because laughter is a way of bringing people together.  He also is running a drinking water project in a community in Ghana and has been visiting friends in Ghana since 2001.

Sophie Beer-O’Brien

Sophie Beer-O’Brien is Project Co-ordinator – Wellbeing at LGBT Foundation.

Paul Dillane

Paul Dillane is Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, a leading NGO working to advance human rights and inclusion for LGBT people internationally. Founded in 2011, Kaleidoscope Trust partners with 35+ organisations in countries where LGBT people face discrimination, criminalisation and persecution. Following a career in law, Paul worked for six years as a human rights and refugee law specialist at Amnesty International UK. Paul is a leading expert on the protection of LGBT refugees and was the Executive Director of UKLGIG, a London-based NGO working to provide practical support to LGBT people fleeing persecution, between 2014-17.

Councillor Bev Craig

Bev is a Labour Councillor for Burnage and sits on the City Council’s Executive. An LGBT rights activist for over 15 years she is the councils political lead on LGBT women’s issues and in May took on responsibility for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Manchester.

Sponsors:

Sponsors who have kindly agreed to make our second Annual Conference a success include:

The Federation (venue): http://www.thefederation.coop/

Twitter: @FederationMCR

 

Co-op Digital (catering): https://digitalblog.coop.co.uk/

Twitter: @CoopDigital

 

Olimpia Burchiellaro (printing) https://www.facebook.com/quimerassinfronteras

Kirit Patel

‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’.

 

UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group

32-36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH P: +44 20 7922 7812. T: @uklgig

 

Lesbian Visibility Day – We Are Human

Lesbian Visibility Day – We Are Human

The Lesbian Visibility Day means a lot. It is for us as lesbians to celebrate our richness in diversity, be proud of ourselves and work in solidarity with other oppressed groups. To me, I see it as a day when we celebrate whom we are as non conforming to heteronormative narrative and ask for freedom for those denied freedom to be who they are especially lesbian people seeking asylum hence African Rainbow Family celebrates Lesbian Visibility Day as we use it to also continually raise awareness about lesbian people of colour and demanding a fair and humane asylum system for lesbians as part of our vital work in supporting people seeking asylum.

“I find my invitation to the European Parliament to speak about issues faced by lesbians seeking asylum in Europe including the demand to end detention, deportation and unsafe living conditions for lesbian* people seeking asylum and refugees at the European Lesbian* Conference (EL*C), organised in collaboration with the European’s Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights to be well thoughtful and positive steps in expanding the conversation to be inclusive of lesbians of colour and those seeking sanctuary” says Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family.

It is important that we are visible as lesbians in order to avoid our erasure! There are many lesbians around the world that live in fear of freely identifying as one in countries that criminalise love especially in the 36 Commonwealth countries where love is illegal including Nigeria that also has death penalty in place. The more we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day, continue the conversation; the more we raise awareness around the fact that love is not illegal, encourage lesbians in the closet to ‘come out’ and demand their freedom to be who they are.
This brings me back home to lesbian women that are seeking asylum in the UK and other countries alike. The treatment of lesbians seeking asylum in the UK by the Home Office is disgraceful and appalling! This dates back to the homophobia exported to Commonwealth countries by Britain; although Prime Minister Theresa May has apologised for this. The culture of disbelief of lesbians seeking asylum is egregious, we are locked up indefinitely in detention centre and a high proportion get deported cruelly back to their countries to face torture. The institutionalised homophobia of Home Office is of the highest order; they believe that you cannot be a lesbian and have child(ren) or have been married previously due to conforming to societal norms. This is one of the reasons why Lesbian Visibility Day is so important.

Sign up to our #WeAreHuman Manchester declaration here

Read more about the European Lesbian* Conference (EL*C), here.

We Are Human – Manchester Declaration

We Are Human Pledge

Presentation3

2017 African Rainbow Family Part of History Conference Manchester Communiqué

The Manchester Declaration 21st June 2017, Manchester

As we know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ (UN General Assembly, 1948). It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

Article 14 of this declaration states, ‘everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution’. 

In 36 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries, love is criminalised; including death penalty in 9 of these 36 countries. It is evident that Britain exported this homophobic law to these countries during colonial era. This has given rise to people fleeing their home countries to seek asylum in LGBT+ friendly countries, including the United Kingdom (UK). Other people flee for different reasons too such as war, trafficking, domestic abuse, genital mutilation, violence against women etc. 

It is however, saddening that under belly racism has crept in to the UK  institutions when it comes to upholding these rights for individuals fleeing any form of persecutions from the state and non state agents of their home countries hence the dehumanisation of people has become the order of the day. This they achieve when referring to people seeking sanctuary as asylum seekers; a nomenclature that has slipped into the wider society and subsequently created disharmony in the community.

In view of the above, it was agreed at the African Rainbow Family Conference in June 21st 2017, Manchester that the conversation needs to change!

sign the pledge

A description that connotes the image of scroungers, including they come to ‘take our job’, ‘live on our benefits’, ‘use our NHS for free’, etc.

This culture of dehumanisation of people seeking asylum is contrary to Article 6 of the declaration which states, ‘everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law’ (UN General Assembly, 1948); which the UK signed up to.

The use of this derogatory classification unconsciously, has toxically led to inadvertent internalised racism by the people seeking asylum themselves and their dehumanisation by those supporting them. People therefore portray themselves as they were intended to be portrayed! – less human, beggars, scroungers, unworthy etc.

The We Are Human campaign is asking that you join us in pledging to change the conversation and refer to us as (LGBT) People Seeking Asylum And Refuge.

sign the pledge

Below are the organisations and individuals that have signed up to this declaration and refer to us as (LGBT) people seeking asylum. Contact us if you would like to sign this declaration, and pledge to call us People Seeking Asylum because We Are Human and not born asylum seekers!

To sign up to the declaration on behalf of an organisation or yourself, send an email to info@africanrainbowfamily.org with the following information:

Organisation, Name, Position in organisation or sign up above. Use #WeAreHuman on social media.

Aderonke Apata – Founder African Rainbow Family

African Rainbow Family

Manchester Migrant Solidarity

Greater Manchester Law Centre

LGBT Foundation

Diane Hughes

Elop – Abimbola Aroyewun

Steph

Tony Openshaw – Writer at Alternative Asylum News. Previous Founder and Manager of Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA)

Fazilet Sadiq – Refugee member LISG

SOGICA

Helen Jarvis

Joanne Crumplin – Rep, USDAW

Trade Union Congress Northern (TUC Northern)

Beth Farhat – TUC

Lesbian and Gay Support the Miners

Virginie Assal – Women’s Programme Inclusion Officer, LGBT Foundation

Karen Daniels –  Secretary, Unite the Union, Hull and East Riding Branch, NE/407/27

Kim Rothman – Supervisor, HCAL

Isaac

Genevra Afford – Service Support Officer, Hull Culture & Leisure Ltd

Sebastian Aguirre

Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants

Sarah Blossom – Sloace

Lionel Kahiha

Kai Javed – Sexual Harassment Advisor, The Angelou Centre

LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester!

Twitter size CMeet Our Speakers @AfricanRainbow1 #LGBTRefugees Tell Their Stories,Celebrate 50 yrs of UK #LGBT law reform 21/6/17 join free seminar http://ow.ly/zFkq30bX0Im at Methodist Hall, Oldham Street Manchester. M1 1JQ.

LGBTI Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester!

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Meet Our Speakers @AfricanRainbow1 #LGBTRefugees Tell Their Stories,Celebrate 50 yrs of UK #LGBT law reform 21/6/17 join free seminar http://ow.ly/zFkq30bX0Im at Methodist Hall, Oldham Street Manchester. M1 1JQ.

PRESS RELEASE African Rainbow Family has been shortlisted for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards.

Press Release

04 July 2017, Manchester

African Rainbow Family has been shortlisted!

African Rainbow Family has been shortlisted for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards.

Dear friends,

We are delighted to announce that African Rainbow Family from Manchester has been shortlisted for the Community Organisation for LGBT at the National Diversity Awards 2017.

Charities and role models from across the UK will gather at the breathtaking Anglican Cathedral on September 08th 2017 for the UK’s largest celebration of diversity.

The best of British diversity will travel to Liverpool to showcase the outstanding achievements of those who have demonstrated their devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in today’s society.

Over 22,000 nominations and votes were received this year, paying tribute to grass root communities nationwide.

African Rainbow Family, a dedicated support group for LGBTIQ refugees, people of African heritage and wider BAME community in the UK says:

 “The prestigious black tie event is definitely one to mark down on your calendar and provides recognition for excellence regardless of race, faith, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability and culture.”

Microsoft will be just one of the brands supporting a skyfall of diverse talent alongside joint Headline Sponsors Direct Line Group.

Paul Geddes, CEO, Direct Line Group said ” We know that having a diverse workforce not only brings in more talent, it increases the variety of thinking, enabling us to have a better understanding of our customers’ needs in an ever-changing Britain.”

“The momentum is gathering pace” he continued “but there is more all businesses can do to pave the way for change. We are therefore honoured to be sponsoring the National Diversity Awards to celebrate the success of role models, businesses and organisations who are leading the way to true diversity and inclusion in our society.”

Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s are supported by the likes of Stephen Fry, Adam Hills and Sir Lenny Henry amongst many.

TV Presenter Graham Norton Said “Promoting and celebrating diversity is close to my heart which is why I am thrilled to support The National Diversity Awards! I want to wish all of this year’s shortlisted nominees the best of luck for the ceremony, you all deserve to win!’’

Previous winners include Huddersfield based Disability Theatre Group Shabang!, Freedom Fighting Refugee Aderonke Apata, and Transgender Support Charity Mermaids.

Internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, Rachel looked back on her time winning the positive role model award in 2013 “It truly was a tremendously uplifting emotional evening, and I don’t think there was a single person in the room who would disagree with that! The evening represented everything that is good about our society”.

Rachel went on to receive the award for battling successfully against a potentially life limiting illness to produce works of art that are applauded worldwide.

She continued “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating an exceptional night, the challenges ahead are still enormous, but with the ND Award in my hand, I will journey forward with renewed hope and ambition to try to do so much more, and in my efforts, hopefully I will, in some way, contribute to making the vital cultural shift within our society.”

Paul Sesay, Founder and CEO of The National Diversity Awards said “I am so proud to be able to witness the journeys of some of the most inspiring role models this country has to offer. Each year I am overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of nominations, and those shortlisted should know how privileged I am to share your stories with the nation. You are all winners and I can’t wait to meet you at the ceremony.”

To view a full list of nominees please visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist

To help our work, consider donating to African Rainbow Family here

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Get Involved

NDA Awards

Vote For Us!
We are excited to announce that African Rainbow Family has been nominated for Community Organisation Award for LGBT in The National Diversity Awards 2017!  Please vote here.Yes We Can Win With Your Help! We need your votes, share it widely and ask your friends and families to vote for us.
Vote here now for African Rainbow Family as Community Organisation for LGBT Awards. Remember to hit the button as voting closes on 9th June 2017!

Vote Now

stall.jpg

Exhibition Stand Hire!
We have also created the opportunity for you to hire an exhibition stand on the day of our LGBTI Asylum Seekers and Refugees Tell Their Stories in Manchester seminar on 21st June 2017, details hereThis, we believe would help to showcase your organisation and the great works that you do!Book your exhibition stall with us for the whole day of the seminar, display what you do and see how much results come afterwards from telling our expected 200+ guests from different walks of life what amazing works you do! 

Booking Rates: 
Stall only – £10
Stall + information of your organisation to be included in our delegate packs – £15.00

Please indicate your preference on the booking form

Book here or contact info@africanrainbowfamily.org for details.
Limited spaces left!

Book Now

 

African Rainbow Family Logo OL 16-04

We Need Your Help!
We rely on good will like yours!

Donate to help us create an amazing radical and social justice change environment in the LGBTI asylum application process in UK Immigration system and fight LGBTI+ inequality globally.
Every little helps!

Donate Now

LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester!

defaultUpdated version.LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester!

Part of History – Celebrating Whom We Are

LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester! A seminar organised by African Rainbow Family Wednesday, 21st June 2017, Methodist Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester. M1 1JQ. Register free here. Join the Facebook page here

Our seminar, Part of History – Celebrating Whom We Are is to celebrate us for whom we are as LGBTI people witnessing and having a feel of what it is to be part of history of the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. Nonetheless, persecuted for being us from our different countries and seeking sanctuary in the UK. 

Join us and be involved to bring together LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees and the wider communities of people who identify as same – Black Asian and Minority Ethnics, White British and non LGBTIQ+ from different ethnic origins. Speakers will give perspectives of:

  1. What the environment was pre 1967 to be an LGBT person in the UK, journey so far and expectations of the community for the future.
  2. The climate of LGBTI political asylum process in the UK.
  3. The situation for LGBTIs in the Commonwealth countries.
  4. Detention and anti-deportation supports for LGBTI asylum seekers.
  5. Our members, Experts by Experience would tell their stories of persecutions back in their home countries and the barriers they face whilst seeking asylum in the UK. 

This is a unique seminar organised by LGBT asylum seekers and refugees themselves whom are all members of African Rainbow Family for our LGBTIQ+ community in the UK to appreciate the gains made here, reflect on the environment for LGBTIs in our members’ individual countries and how to support LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees.

We will host a tribute banquet to celebrate us and those at the heart of the 1960’s freedom which we as LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees now enjoy. Also to celebrate our diversity through sharing our traditional countries’ cultures – foods, dance and bring our community in Manchester together, encourage community cohesion, networking, sharing good ideas and practices useful in supporting LGBTI asylum seekers whom are from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

We are hoping that you may be able to experience this celebration with us on the 21/06/ 2017 in Manchester!

This event is free but donations would be generously welcomed.

Please register for a ticket here to secure a place and to ensure we know numbers to cater for! Join the Facebook page here.

Speakers:

Peter - head shot 1 - Aboriginal printPeter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell has campaigned for human rights and LGBT freedom for 50 years. A pioneer of the Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s and a co-founder of OutRage! in 1990, his human rights activism resulted in him being badly beaten by President Mugabe’s bodyguards in 2001 and by Russian neo-Nazis in 2007. He is Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

 

ChelvanS. Chelvan

Chelvan is “one of the country’s leading human rights barristers” (May 2015), and byColin Yeoas an “inspirational campaigning lawyer and academic” (April 2015), S. Chelvan, Barrister at No5 Chambers in London, is an activist, academic and advocate.  Chelvan is an LGBTI champion, specifically with respect to the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers.  He is recognised as having significantly contributed to ground- breaking LGBTI asylum cases, both here in the UK, and in Europe.  He litigates cases from the First-tier Tribunal to the Supreme Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

PDPaul Dillane

Paul Dillane is Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, a leading NGO working to advance human rights and inclusion for LGBT people internationally. Founded in 2011, Kaleidoscope Trust partners with 35+ organisations in countries where LGBT people face discrimination, criminalisation and persecution. Following a career in law, Paul worked for six years as a human rights and refugee law specialist at Amnesty International UK. Paul is a leading expert on the protection of LGBT refugees and was the Executive Director of UKLGIG, a London-based NGO working to provide practical support to LGBT people fleeing persecution, between 2014-17. Paul has worked as a consultant and trainer for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Council of Europe, ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe and has provided training and capacity building support to judges, lawyers, officials and activists in countries across the world. He is a member of the Executive Committee and Bursary Officer with the Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), a trustee of Hackney Community Law Centre and a member of the London Business School Out in Business Advisory Board.

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Aderonke Apata

Aderonke Apata is a Human Rights Activist, Feminist and LGBT Equality Advocate. Following a BSc in Microbiology and subsequent Masters of Public Health and Primary Care; Aderonke become an LGBTI asylum campaigner who fled persecution for homosexuality in her native Nigeria, and campaigns for LGBT asylum seekers to stay in the UK. Winner Positive Role Model for LGBT National Diversity ward 2014, where she was described as “an unstoppable force in fighting for justice”, she is number 41 67 on the RainbowList2014 & RainbowList2015 respectively as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK. Aderonke was named LGBT Heroine of the year 2015 by DIVA Magazine in recognition of her achievements in the LGBT community. Aderonke is the founder of African Rainbow Family, an LGBT group that that supports LGBTIQ asylum seekers and people of African heritage in the UK. She is currently campaigning for the repeal of the toxic Nigerian Anti-LGBTIQ Law. She also started Manchester Migrant Solidarity, a self help group offering practical supports and building a powerful political voice against the systematic mistreatment of migrants in the UK. Aderonke is Patron and Trustee Board member of many LGBT organisations whose fight against barriers for equal access to the political system and her ongoing campaign for equality has been recognised when she was elected as the BAME Officer, National LGBT Labour in 2014. This is to call upon all BAME LGBTs in the UK to raise their voices and demand accountability of politicians.

sue1Sue Sanders

Sue Sanders is Emeritus Professor Harvey Milk Institute, an “out and proud” lesbian, and LGBT rights activist, Since 1967, she has been a teacher, tutor and a lecturer on women’s studies, drama and homophobia. Having been an active member of Schools OUT UK she became their chair In 2000, a group working for the visibility of LGBT people in the education system. She was a founder member of the LGBT Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police and worked closely with the criminal justice system on hate crime. In 2004 she instituted the UK’s first LGBT History Month. And in 2008 was responsible for the website the Classroom which has over 70 lesson plans that usualise LGBT people for all ages across the curriculum. Prof. Sanders is the author of poetry and short stories as well as many articles and brochures on feminist issues, education and homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and lesphobia.

“In these troubling times since Brexit when we have seen hate crime rise it is even more important to Educate OUT prejudice by making LGBT people in all their diversity visible and safe”. Says Sue.

Margaret.jpgMargaret Nankabinwa 

Margaret Nankabinwa is an LGBT Refugee from Uganda and a valued Secretary of African Rainbow Family

 

LisademoLisa Matthews Lisa Matthews is coordinator at Right to Remain. She has worked at Right to Remain (previously called NCADC) for over five years, and before that worked with refugees in Cairo, in community mental health in London, as a legal caseworker in immigration and asylum law, and as a refugee integration and asylum advice caseworker. Right to Remain works with communities, groups and organisations across the UK, providing information, resources, training and assistance to help people to establish their right to remain, and to challenge injustice in the immigration and asylum system.

philipPhilip Jones 

Philip Jones has been a member of the congregation now known as the Metropolitan Congregation (previously the Metropolitan Church, Manchester, and before that the Metropolitan Community Church, Manchester) for 23 years. This congregation has always had a majority LGBT membership and expresses it mission in terms of Christian spirituality, Christian community, and Christian social action with, for, and in partnership with the LGBT communities of Manchester and the North West. By profession, Philip served his local community as a Chartered Librarian for 37 years before taking early retirement 5 years ago at which point he was able to devote more time to various leadership activities in the Metropolitan Congregation, eventually working with others to bring the congregation into membership of the United Reformed Church and being ordained an Elder of the URC, alongside others from the congregation, in October 2015.

PHOTOSmyth Harper

Smyth Harper has had a varied career in journalism and public relations, working for a range of organisations including the Manchester Evening News, BBC, Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council. He is currently Head of Communications and Engagement for Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner. He is an active member of Manchester’s LGBT community. As well as helping to support the economic success of the Village by spending too much money in its venues, he aims to be an advocate for LGBT issues wherever he can. Notably, he volunteers as an LGBT Foundation Village Angel. An Irishman who has lived in Manchester most of his adult life, Smyth spends too much time on karaoke, not enough time in the gym and a soul-destroying amount of his life humanely euthanizing injured mice and birds brought in by his killer cat.

Pam.jpgPam Flynn

Pam Flynn is am a socialist and a feminist.  Growing up in industrial South Wales, Pam was raised a socialist and the habit has never left her. Pam tries to bring good humour and friendship into changing the world for the better. She serves on the Board of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit and volunteered with LISG (Lesbian Immigration Support Group) until 2016. Pam came out as lesbian in 1988.  She also likes to walk, keep flexible, grow vegetables, cook and eat good food, watch birds and sing.

ElijahElijah Saunders

Elijah Saunders is a Gay Refugee and member of African Rainbow Family. Elijah is a 32 years old refugee hailing from the twin Caribbean island of Trinidad & Tobago, I majored in management studies at various local, Regional & international institutes located in Canada, USA, & the UK to name just a few,  managing to carve out a very success career spanning over 17 years in the fields of telecommunications, customer service, sales and business Administration….my greatest achievement to date is breathing as a FREE Gay man as I  emancipated myself from my homophobic homeland to start over as “ME” gay & proud “ME”.

20160921_103152(0).jpgDr Kris Harris

Dr Kris Harris is a Research and Policy Worker with Medical Justice, the only organisation in the UK to send independent volunteer clinicians into Immigration Removal Centers to document detainees’ scars of torture and challenge instances of medical mistreatment. She has an interest in migrants access to healthcare and a background in anthropology and public health.

RBbyAjamuRob Berkeley

Rob Berkeley is an award-winning busybody, recovering academic and reformed social reformer, Rob currently plies his trade advising the BBC on accountability. Impatient with injustice and exasperated by wasted potential, he volunteers on the boards of Baring Foundation, and Britdoc Foundation, has previously served on the boards of Stonewall, Equality and Diversity Forum and the Oxford Access Scheme, and been Chair of Naz Project (NPL) and BGMAG. He was Director of the Runnymede Trust 2009-14, and now leads the editorial team of community journalism platform, BlackoutUK.com. Alongside his academic writing on education, social justice and community organizing, he has presented and co-produced short form documentaries, and written for The Guardian and The Independent on racial justice. His current obsession with innovations in media technology and their potential for social justice means that he watches a lot of TV/film and calls it ‘research’. Dr Berkeley was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to equality.

Leila May 17.jpgLeila Zadeh 

Leila Zadeh is the Executive Director of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, who support and advocate for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers and refugees. Leila came to the UK as part of a refugee family when she was 13 months old. She has spent most of her career working in the charity sector, including for ActionAid, Oxfam and most recently as Senior Advisor: Policy and Government Affairs at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, where her role included policy and advocacy on global LGBT rights.

IMG_0854Jason Jones

Jason Jones

 

 

 

Linda Bellos

Denis McDowell: Greater Manchester Immigration Aids Unit

Vivien Walsh

 

Rally To Stop Mass Deportations of LGBTI Asylum Seekers To Nigeria – End Charter Flights

 

Rally To Stop Mass Deportations of LGBTI Asylum Seekers To Nigeria – End Charter Flights

Friends,

The Nigerian government through her High Commission Office in London, is complicit in colluding with the UK Home Office Immigration Enforcement in their ethnic / immigrants cleansing mass deportations of LGBTI asylum seekers back to Nigeria using the dubious charter flight regime.

Nigeria in 2014, passed an insidious anti LGBTI law – the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill adjudged to be one of the harshest and most punitive of the many laws in nearly 80 countries that criminalise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

“Since the insidious 2014 anti-LGBTI law was passed in Nigeria, there have been waves of police arrests and torture, anti-LGBTI mob attacks, public whippings, evictions from homes, harassment and discrimination against ‘suspected’ LGBTIs. Equality advocacy organisations and activists in Nigeria are not spared mistreatments” says Aderonke Apata, LGBTIQ Advocate from Nigeria. 

On 17th May, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), for which the theme is ‘family’, we are holding a solidarity rally to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow LGBTI siblings and family in the UK facing the threat of deportations back to Nigeria and other homophobic countries to say no more LGBTI asylum seekers’ deportations to Nigeria. Visit the event page here.

Many LGBTI asylum seekers have been deported back to Nigeria using the charter flights. These charter flights usually leave from an undisclosed UK airport in middle of the nights with specially trained escort guards (one escort assigned to one deportee) on a Cargo Aircraft! Each person on the charter flight costs up to £5000 on each trip that tears and rips apart partners, parents from their children, people from the community that they have developed in the UK for many years. Amongst the people deported are:
• LGBTI asylum seekers with potential 14 years imprisonment
and jungle justice from non state agents upon arrival in Nigeria are deported.
• Many with ongoing asylum and immigration cases denied the right to justice by their deportations.
• Many whom are UNFIT to fly.
• Many whom have been in the UK for over decades.
• Many whom have made the UK their homes.
• Many with no ties to Nigeria.
• Many whom are not Nigerians.

The case of Oyekunle, a gay man from Nigeria is just an example of LGBTI people being unlawfully deported back to Nigeria via charter flights as reported by The Unity Centre Glasgow during the MASS DEPORTATION charter flight of January 31st 2017 thus:

“Oyekunle is a gay man from Nigeria – one of the most dangerous countries in the world for LGBT people – who came to the UK 4 years ago and claimed asylum. After his initial screening interview he was briefly detained. He has never had a full interview because the Home Office sent the notification to the wrong address. They are arguing that his claim has lapsed; he has been detained again and is scheduled to be part of Tuesday night’s mass deportation to Nigeria by charter flight. You can ring Stansted Airport and Titan Airways to tell them that it is unlawful for them to remove Oyekunle from the UK whilst his asylum claim has not been answered by the Home Office”

The above is confirmed by Olakunle Akindele Bamgbose, acting high commissioner to the UK in an interview with The Guardian newspaper last year that “UK pressures Nigeria to help Home Office increase deportations”. Olakunle said:

“His embassy was being asked to help remove people who were sick, had immigration appeals outstanding, had no ties to Nigeria after living for many years in the UK and who in some cases were not even Nigerian.”

“It’s a big issue for us here at the embassy,” he said. “There are cases where people have been here for decades. Some of them are not even Nigerian: they came to Britain on false passports originally but the UK want us to accept them back to Nigeria” he continued.

 Despite the above facts from Olakunle Akindele Bamgbose, the charter flights continue on a monthly basis wrecking havoc to many lives.

Many people on the charter flights are said even not to be Nigerians! Even if they are all Nigerians, we still say no to deportations of LGBTI asylum seekers and all mass deportations including using charter flights.

We believe the use of charter flights are criminal, cruel, racist and against the human rights of the people deported. Our belief is corroborated by this briefing, “Collective Expulsion: The Case Against Britain’s Mass Deportation Charter Flights” by Corporate Watch and Stop Deportation on the Home Office’s use of charter flights for deportations.

Angered by the negative effects that UK’s mass deportations have on people, activists from the Stop Charter Flights – End Deportations, Plane Stupid and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants protested in a direct action against a chartered flight at the Stanted Airport in a ten-hour occupation of the runway to prevent the mass deportation due to deport 50 people to Nigeria and Ghana from happening on 28th March 2017.

Friends, would you join us to keep LGBTI asylum seekers safe from persecution, imprisonment and possibly deaths? Join Stop The Mass Deportation Of LGBTI Asylum Seekers on 17th May 2pm at Nigeria high commission and DEMAND that:

1) Nigeria High Commission must stop issuing Travel Documents for deportation purposes
2)Nigerian Government must not allow the landing of charter flights on Nigerian soil
3) Nigerian Government, take a stand against deportations of your citizens
4) Demand the British Government to allow Nigerians whom have lived in the UK for at least 5 years to be given right to remain in the UK – they are Commonwealth citizens.

This event is organised by Aderonke Apata from the AfricanRainbowFamily and Noorulann Donald Shahid from NUS LGBT+ Campaign.

The event is also supported by
Manchester MiSol
Stop Charter Flights – End Deportations
Unity Centre
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Bethan Turner

 

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