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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

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)

Baroness Liz Barker, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.

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

Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter.

Sandhya Sharma, Safety4Sisters

Other speakers to be announced

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Part of History: Celebrating Whom we Are Report

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African Rainbow Family is very humbled to have been able to put together a successful  first ever LGBTIQ refugee conference in the UK that calls for end to ‘vile’ proof of sexuality policy with the generosity  of The New Beginnings Fund thus:

  • Conference marks 50 years since landmark of homosexuality law reform
  • Refugee speakers will explore ongoing plight of LGBT asylum seekers in UK
  • Call for Home Office to drop ‘proof of sexuality’ policy

We are proud to say that our Part of History conference event poster has since 21st June 2017, been added to items displayed till date in the People’s History Museum Manchester for visitors to view and learn from. This would eventually be archived for future reference following the Museum’s archiving procedures. Following the conference, our branch in Birmingham has been experiencing increased referrals too and now looking to have a new branch in other part of the UK.

Report of our conference is available here , video coverage of the day is available here and also at the video section of our Facebook.

African Rainbow Family would like to say a huge thank you to all our guest speakers, panelists, group members, volunteers, conference delegates, friends and funder that made the conference possible.

Using this opportunity to watch out for our next Annual Conference 2018 coming soon!

 

 

 

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.

Sign Up: We Are Human Pledge Manchester Declaration

Presentation3We Are Human campaign

African Rainbow Family’s We Are Human declaration campaign is asking that you join us in pledging to change the conversation and refer to us as (LGBT) People Seeking Asylum And Refuge and not asylum seekers. Read the full declaration here.

To sign up to the declaration on behalf of an organisation or yourself, complete the form below or send an email to info@africanrainbowfamily.org with the following information: Organisation, Name, Position in organisation. Use #WeAreHuman on social media.

 

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

 

 

First ever LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to ‘vile’ proof of sexuality policy

Updated version.

Press Release
For Immediate Release 21st June 2017

First ever LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to ‘vile’ proof of sexuality policy

  • Conference marks 50 years since landmark of homosexuality law reform
  • Refugee speakers will explore ongoing plight of LGBT asylum seekers in UK
  • Call for Home Office to drop ‘proof of sexuality’ policy

Manchester will host the first ever LGBTIQ asylum seeker and refugee conference today [21st June], marking 50 years since the landmark Sexual Offences Act 1967 made the first steps towards decriminalising homosexuality in the UK.

The conference will feature LGBTIQ refugee speakers telling their stories, exploring changes in attitudes in the UK in the last 50 years and highlighting the plight still faced by LGBTIQ asylum seekers today.

In many countries, particularly in Africa, homosexuality remains illegal and violent attacks on LGBTIQ people are common. Many are forced to flee, some to the UK, after being publicly ‘outed’.

Gay asylum seekers coming to the UK face significant barriers. The Home Office refuses to accept that any asylum seekers are homosexual unless they provide ‘proof of sexuality’. Until recently, the Home Office had deported LGBTIQ asylum seekers on the grounds that they could ‘be discreet’ about their sexuality in their home country to avoid harm – that was ruled unlawful in 2010.

The conference is being organised by African Rainbow Family (ARF), a group that supports LGBTIQ people of African heritage and wider BAME in the UK. ARF works with the growing African LGBTIQ asylum seeker and refugee communities who face harassment, hate crimes and discrimination.

It will see a call on the Home Office to abandon its ‘proof of sexuality’ policy, which ARF says is demeaning and cruel.

Speakers will include:

  • Peter Tatchell, leading human rights and LGBTIQ campaigner
  • Barrister S. Chelvan, LGBTIQ asylum law specialist
  • Paul Dillane, Chief Executive of Kaleidoscope Trust
  • Sue Sanders, Emeritus Professor at the Harvey Milk Institute
  • Aderonke Apata LGBTIQ campaigner and founder, African Rainbow Family

Aderonke Apata, Founder of the ARF and a long-term campaigner on LGBTIQ asylum, who is also speaking at the conference, said:

“Despite the gains in acceptance of LGBTIQ people in the UK, LGBT asylum seekers’ and refugees’ situation remains precarious. The Home Office needs to catch up with the rest of the UK, drop its vile ‘proof of sexuality’ policy and move on from 1967.

“All LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in the UK want – like anyone else – is to be treated with fairness and humanity. Having been forced to flee by hate and intolerance at home, being branded a liar by the Home Office is demeaning and cruel for LGBTIQ people seeking asylum.

“I hope the Home Office will listen to the message coming out of our conference and treat everyone with the decency and respect they deserve.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

More information and tickets to the conference:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lgbt-asylum-seekers-refugees-tell-their-stories-in-manchester-tickets-34762202684?aff=eac2

More information about the African Rainbow Family:https://africanrainbowfamily.org/

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 75 countries and in 14 is punishable by lengthy imprisonment and death – including in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Pakistan.

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

End

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