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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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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.

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

 

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

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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”.

 

 

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.

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

My Country Shut Her Doors Against Me!

On Wednesday, 30th September 2015, Aderonke Apata, a Nigerian lesbian, global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) equality advocate, feminist and human rights activist was joined by many LGBTI activists in a rally to deliver petition signatures of over 70,000 demanding the repeal of Nigeria Anti Gay Laws to the Nigeria High Commission in London. The rally was organised by African Rainbow Family and supported by Peter Tatchell Foundation and Out and Proud.

Aderonke, leader of the campaign and rally recounts her experiences at the rally attended by over 100 people including leading human rights activist, Peter Tatchell of the Peter Tatchell Foundation thus:

“My country, Nigeria shut her doors against me just because I am a lesbian! Today, I am joined by nearly 80,000 freedom lovers all over the world including those present here to deliver this petition signatures calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to repeal Nigeria’s toxic and harshest same-sex marriage and relationships laws; what did I get? Shut doors!”

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The rally had a turn out of over 100 people, and attracted many media reports both local and international news. News coverage could be found in Gay Times Magazine, Gay NewsNetwork, Diva Magazine and ERASING 76 CRIMES. Even the leaders of the Catholic church in Nigeria were quick to react to our call to repeal Nigeria antigay laws. In The Tablet News published on 1st October 2015, they said: “We do not advocate punishing gays, say Nigerian bishops” .

It wasn’t business as usual at the Nigerian Embassy when activists arrived around lunchtime on Wednesday, 30th Sept. All of their doors were shut. No movement in and out of the building was allowed the minute Aderonke requested to see a senior official of the embassy whom she could hand over the petition to en route delivery to the Nigerian President.

Everyone present at the rally in front of the Nigerian embassy was on the look-out for any of the three doors leading into the building that could be accidentally opened, just so we can request entrance. The minute we are made aware of any opened door, we would approach the guard; but get a rebuff. Eventually all movements were suspended till we left at about 3pm.

“What amazes me most was that, one of the embassy staff who was returning from his lunch break told me the reason why the embassy didn’t want to collect the two boxes containing the petition signatures was because the embassy wasn’t informed of such delivery prior to the day of the rally. However when a friend of mine that came to support me at the rally later took the boxes to the door, a guard at the embassy collected them from her and even signed a sheet of paper as proof of receipt!” continues Aderonke.

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Other Nigerian media that covered the event include: Naij.comCotonou9JA.com, nairaland.comLailasBlog, Afikpochicupdates.com, NigerianNation

African Rainbow Family London Rally Demands Repeal Nigeria Anti-Gay Law

Petition with over 70,000 signatures demands LGBTI equality in Nigeria

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Over 100 people joined Aderonke Apata, founder, African Rainbow Family rallied outside the Nigerian High Commission in London on 30 September. They handed in a petition with over 70,000 signatures, urging Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to repeal of all Nigeria’s anti-LGBTI laws. The embassy refused to take the petition, instead locking the doors.

The rally was organised by Nigerian lesbian activist Aderonke Apata, with the support of the African LGBTI organisation, Out and Proud Diamond Group, and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“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 mistreatment,” said Aderonke Apata.

“Growing up in Nigeria, I was unable to disclose my sexuality, yet unable to hide it. The culture in Nigeria makes it clear that being gay or transgender is a sin, a sentiment that is fuelled by homophobic messages from faith communities, political leaders, families, and schools. I took these messages in, identifie    d with them, and carried the shame of being a lesbian woman in Nigeria. I was arrested, tortured and extorted by the Nigerian Police. I demand a repeal of this toxic law,” she said.

1443698119-london-rally-demands-repeal-of-nigerias-antilgbti-laws_86909281443698157-london-rally-demands-repeal-of-nigerias-antilgbti-laws_8691015

Edwin Sesange, Director African LGBTI organisation Out and Proud Diamond Group said:

“We urge Nigerian President Buhari and his government to repeal the anti-gay laws in Nigeria. He was elected by many people including LGBTI Nigerians and should therefore stand up for their rights. I call upon the African Union to speak out against these anti-gay laws that violate its own charter. It is time for them to stand together with the oppressed, rather than looking on when fellow Africans are being persecuted because of their sexuality or gender identity.”

Pliny Soocoormanee of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation added:

“Under a nineteenth century law imposed by the British colonial administration, male homosexuality is punishable in Nigeria by a sentence of 14 years imprisonment.”

“More recently, a draconian new anti-LGBTI law – the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill – was signed into law in January 2014. It is 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.

“This draconian anti-LGBTI law prohibits same-sex marriage with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. It also stipulates 10 years jail for public displays of same-sex affection and 10 years for membership or support of LGBTI equality and advocacy groups.

“These two repressive laws are a toxic abuse of the human rights of Nigerian LGBTI people. They violate the non-discrimination clause (Article 42) of the Nigerian Constitution, Articles 2 and 3 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the equality provisions of the Commonwealth Charter, to which Nigeria is a signatory and which the country has pledged to uphold and respect,” said Mr Soocoormanee.

1443698143-london-rally-demands-repeal-of-nigerias-antilgbti-laws_8690976Aderonke Apata at NigeriaEmbassy petition

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