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.”
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.
Thank you so very much for your genorosity. Do encourage your friends and networks to join in and donate too!
There have been many advancements made in the treatments of AIDS; but more can still be done. We can nonetheless, make AIDS a non-life-threatening disease and even non-existence in our communities with the availability of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a preventativve measure in transmitting/spreading AIDS. The case for PrEP is NOW – demand the NHS make PrEP available NOW!!!
We must not forget that about a third of the world’s population is still criminalised for consensual adult same-sex relationships; hence making it difficult for people living with HIV/AIDS to come forward for testing, detecting and treatments. This is why we implore you to join in, donate and make ACT UP FOR LOVE Stonewall Uprising Trip possible!
Donate here #Root4LOVE #ACTUP4LOVE
ACT UP FOR LOVE 2016 – Celebrating Radical LGBTQI Resistance, Love and Unity
Full list of performers and Speakers to be announced
June 28th 2016 – 6-8pm Trafalgar Square, London, facebook event page here
ACT UP FOR LOVE is organised by African Rainbow Family(www.africanrainbowfamily.org)and ACT UP London
AFRICAN RAINBOW FAMILY, is proud to be part of ACT UP FOR LOVE and say as follows:
- It is against any fundamental human rights to be criminalised for love. The control, power and authority of our greedy, hypocritical and cynical political and religious leaders need to be challenged in the interest of equality, freedom, prosperity and justice.
- It is high time that all legal barriers to equality and human rights for all be abolished in order for LGBTIQ people living in countries that criminalise them begin to access testing, detection and treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Read more here
Full list of performers and Speakers to be announced
On June 28th, we mark the 47th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which saw the LGBTQIA*+ community standing up and shutting down state repression and homophobia, transmisogny and racism. Though nearly half a century has passed, we do not let fall the passion, resistance and bravery of our brothers, sisters and siblings who fought for the rights we enjoy.
Stonewall Uprising demanded “equality for homosexuals,” “Gay power,” and “freedom now!” We take their message of love, solidarity and struggle and#ACTUP4Lovein the square and build…
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This year, the theme of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT2016) is Mental Health and Well Being.
Mental health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing where every individual realises own potential. Cope with stress of life, work productively and fruitfully and able to contribute to her or his community. Unfortunately for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people including those who are nonbinary living in any of the over 70 countries in the world where consensual same-sex relationships are criminalised and even sometimes by death penalty; it is absolutely impossible to fulfill any meaningful mental health.
Hear what Aderonke Apata, Nigerian human right activist and LGBT equality advocate says:
“Today’s IDAHOT day! Many people like me globally, are still not free to love whom they want to love. Will you stand by, for and with us on this International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia? Especially LGBT asylum seekers and refugees for acceptance. Challenge hate crimes and embrace diversity and inclusion.”
In commemorating the IDAHOT2016, Aderonke delivered a speech at the Kaleidoscope Trust 4th Annual Lecture to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) focusing on the global theme for IDAHOBIT 2016: Mental Health and Wellbeing. Read full speech here.
Speaking at the IDAHOBIT 2016 Hate Crime Vigil to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) in Sackville Gardens in Manchester’s Gay Village organised by LGBT Foundation; Aderonke thanked and paid tribute to those who’ve fought for LGBT rights, now and in future.
“We must not forget that within the LGBT umbrella, people of colour are still discriminated against. As much as Manchester is a receptive and welcoming place for refugees, racism is still rife in LGBT community. We need to tackle discrimination from within as well and embrace inclusion. There is a lot to be done for LGBT people overseas, to whom we must extend our solidarity” Aderonke added.
17th May 2016
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
A 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 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”.
“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)
As 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:
“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.
The 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 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