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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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President Muhammadu Buhari

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.

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.

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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.

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President Buhari Prefers The Terrorists – Boko Haram!

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Does President Buhari Prefer The Terrorists – Boko Haram?!

The newly elected president of the most populous nation in Africa, president Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has accepted the continuous onslaughts of his country’s citizens as opposed to promoting freedom, equality and the human rights of the LGBTIQ minority of Nigeria.

During Buhari’s visit to the US last week between Sunday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 22;  the need to repeal Nigerian Anti Gay law as contained in an open letter to President Obama requesting that he intervenes and pressures Buhari to repeal the Nigerian Same-sex marriage prohibition law was raised. Unfortunately he rejected to do so; this leads to missing a milestone which would have been a huge landmark in equality and human rights for all Nigerians and indeed the whole of Africa.

The Washington visit was meant to discuss the U.S government supports for Nigeria. President Obama was said to have told Buhari that: “The destiny of the continent was tied to Nigeria’s, he said, pledging that America would continue to support, as long as Nigeria does the right things”.

It beggars good reasoning and the worth of humanity what the priorities for Nigerians are from their newly elected president!

“A president who prefers the continuous maiming, mass massacre, torture, displacement and gruesome raping of his country’s citizens to LOVE needs to reconsider his or her position in my view” says Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family.

Fair enough president Buhari has shown his commitment to combat and rid Nigeria of her number one spiral historic endemic ‘disease’ – bribery and corruption. He also promised to retrieve Nigerian looted money starched away in foreign countries. This is a welcome move and hopefully he achieves it.

However, it’s beyond imagination that the rights of ordinary harmless minority group in Nigeria who only shows love towards each other in consensual relationships could be traded off for the daily mayhem caused by Boko Haram. Read about the February 2015 Africa Rainbow Family’s candle lit vigil in solidarity with victims of Boko Haram massacre in Baga here.

Other benefits for Nigeria’s advancement were also rejected by her custodian all in the name of culture and religion.

We call on president Buhari to take a better inward reconsideration of his stand and move away from being ‘cowed’ by the so called religious leaders who only care about themselves under the pretence of upholding God’s commandments.

For further information:

Aderonke Apata

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

www.africanrainbowfamily.org

To support our work, please contact us here.

27th July 2015.

“I Am Baga Too”: Manchester Marches Against Boko Haram

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Exactly seven days before Valentine’s Day, central Manchester was occupied by activists marching in solidarity with the victims of Boko Haram’s heinous January attacks. Not only did the vigil – organised by self-funded collective African Rainbow Family (ARF) – condemn the attacks, but it raised the alarm against the lack of mainstream media coverage. With people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and faiths, up to 60 activists gathered in Piccadilly Gardens, having walked from St Peters Square via Market Street where the march commenced.

Echoing the reverberation of the megaphone’s “I Am Baga Too” and “Black Lives Matter Too”, the protesters peacefully marched with lit candles and placards denoting the value of all human life, regardless of background or social standing.

Despite the outbreak of news interest in the initial kidnappings of 200 schoolgirls in March 2014 – including a social media hashtag campaign that even Michelle Obama took part in – little-to-no light has been shone over Boko Haram’s further spate of abductions of women and recent bombing of an estimated 2,000 civilian lives.

The rally’s aim was to raise awareness of those neglected by mainstream media and to provoke “a national debate with western and African leaders” driven towards active change rather than lip-service, founder of ARF Aderonke Apata told TNT.

RF is the group behind last December’s march along Portland Street, Manchester. The convention saw hundreds of activists protesting against institutionalised injustices such as that which happened to the late Mike Brown from Ferguson, Missouri USA.

“Going forward, we want to see more communication between activist groups and volunteers. We want to connect with each other as we are more powerful together. Ultimately we want community voices to be heard,” one of the co-organisers said.

Terrorist militant group, Boko Haram, has taken over the Baga town of north-east Nigeria. It continues its monstrous crimes against thousands of innocent women and children. Activists feel there is no other option but to take to the streets in protest, rather than mirror the meek and passive reaction of mainstream media. The next public meeting has been provisionally booked according to ARF group; however, the date will be confirmed soon. In the meantime, we should all continue to let the appalling silence burst away from us. More details of the news coverage of the vigil can be found  here.

President Buhari supports continuous criminalisation of his country’s LGBTI community!

Press Release – 23rd July 2015

Repeal Nigerian Anti-Gay Law Now!

During his visit to President Barack Obama in the U.S.A this week, our open letter of 17th July 2015 to President Obama requesting that he intervenes and pressures Buhari to repeal Nigerian Anti Gay Law was raised in a discussion as confirmed by Femi Adesina, spokesperson for President Buhari. Unfortunately, he rejected to do so hence he is in support of the continuous inequality, discrimination and criminalisation of this Nigerian minority group.

“It’s a shame. President Buhari’s rejection to repeal the Same-Sex Law marks the continuous dark age of hostile and toxic environment against LGBTIs and any support organisation of this community in Nigeria” said Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family.

Adesina said: “The issue of gay marriage came up here yesterday. President Muhammadu Buhari was point blank. Sodomy is against the law in Nigeria, and abhorrent to our culture.”

Over 70,000 equality lovers all over the world signed the petitions to the Nigerian president asking that he upholds the human rights of the LGBTI community in Nigeria. Details of petitions here and here.

President Buhari missed the golden opportunity to be a custodian of human rights and democracy in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa; especially at a time when Americans are enjoying an historic marriage equality, continues Aderonke.

In her open letter to President Barack Obama on 17th July 2015, Aderonke highlighted the plights of her community in Nigeria. The enormous state sponsored violence and inhuman degradation treatments such as arbitrary police arrests, torture, extortion and blackmails against this minority Nigerians would know no end. The magnitude of state and non-state discrimination they face in their own country such as  jungle justice, homelessness, lack of access to: healthcare, employment, political opinions have just been sanctioned by the newly elected president of Nigeria.

It should be noted however, that our resolute persistent push and call for the decriminalization of this punitive law must be unwavered. African countries such as Uganda and Mozambique recently decriminalise homosexuality. Nigeria needs to be more forward looking and protects all of her citizens against violations of their human rights.

For further information:

Aderonke Apata

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

WWW.AfricanRainbowFamily.org

To support the work of African Rainbow Family, contact us here.

 

 

 

 

 

Open Letter To President Barack Obama-Repeal Nigerian Anti-Gay Law

Open Letter To President Barack Obama-Repeal Nigerian Anti-Gay Law.

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