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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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Press Release: LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

  • Conference exposes unreported sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and servitude  in LGBTIQ people seeking asylum community
  • Refugee speakers will tell of their experiences of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and domestic violence. Explore ongoing plight of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in UK
  • Conference will encourage victims to come forward for their voices to be heard
  • Call for Home Office to drop its high standard of proof sexuality policy

Manchester will host again, the second LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee conference today [11th August], shining the light on the extent of active and subtle sexual and  domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community in the UK. Mostly perpetrated by people who owe them duty of care.

The conference will, following the #METOO movement, feature LGBTIQ refugee speakers telling their personal experiences of abuse, exploring how the hostile environment which seeks to deport as many people as possible in order to meet Home Office’s  set targets, such as in the Windrush Generation; has reinforced a high standard of proof sexuality policy in the Home Office leading to many LGBTIQs being refused asylum and highlighting the plight still faced by LGBTIQ people seeking asylum 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 people seeking asylum coming to the UK face significant barriers. The Home Office culture of disbelief has meant that it refuses to accept that any LGBTIQ seeking asylum are homosexual unless they provide ‘proof of sexuality’. This position is an extremely toxic shift towards high number of deportation following the ruling in 2010 which prohibits the Home Office from deporting LGBTIQ people seeking asylum on the grounds that they could ‘be discreet’ about their sexuality in their home country to avoid harm.

We know that the Home Office has and continues to illegally and forcibly deport many LGBTIQ people seeking asylum through its brutal charter flight methods.

‘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.

The conference is being organised by African Rainbow Family (ARF), a charitable group that supports LGBTIQ people of African heritage and wider BAME in the UK. ARF works with the growing African LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee communities including wider BAME who face harassment, hate crimes and discrimination.
It will see a call on the Home Office to abandon its ‘high standard of proof sexuality policy, which ARF says is demeaning, humiliating, dehumanising, cruel and a driver of the culture of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation in their community.

Speakers will include:

  • Baroness Liz Barker, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords
  • Barrister S. Chelvan, LGBTIQ No5 Barristers’ Chambers, 2018 Attitude Awards
  • ‘Experts by Experience’ (LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and Refuge)
  • Paul Dillane, Chief Executive of Kaleidoscope Trust
  • Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West of England
  • Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter.
  • Bev Craig, Labour Councillor for Burnage
  • 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:

“We are starting a cultural revolution which forms a platform to inspire LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to come forward, tell their experiences of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and let their voices to be heard in order for us to see consequences in terms of their perpetrators who owe them a duty of care to be brought to justice.

“The Home Office’s high standard of proof policy drives a culture of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, modern day slavery and all forms of emotional, psychological and mental problems in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community

“I ask that the Home Office drops their high standard of proof in sexuality policy as well as the wider asylum applications.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

More information and tickets to the conference: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unreported-sexual-abuse-exploitation-of-lgbtiqs-seeking-asylum-uk-tickets-48018563817

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

For press request, contact: aderonkeapata@africanrainbowfamily.org and                                    info@africanrainbowfamily.org

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 72 countries and in 14 is punishable by lengthy imprisonment and in 8, death – including in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Pakistan.

Our sponsors:
The Federation Co-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group, we are ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’.

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

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

It is happening in our community! We can’t turn a blind eye and pretend there is/are no problem(s) of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse/violence, trafficking and domestic servitude – modern day slavery in the LGBTIQ asylum seeking and refugee community.

As ‘Experts by Experience’, our wealth of personal and direct experiences through the asylum and immigration system for over a decade, campaigning for a social change in this draconian, toxic system and hostile environment; we know that our community is constantly oppressed as a result of what people believe is our vulnerability; hence a pocket-full the mainstream population capitalise on this and exploit us. After all, we are not victims but survivors! #MeToo is unreported in our community, African Rainbow Family is shining the light on this at our 2018 annual conference in Manchester on 11/08/2018.

If you’ve not yet registered to attend African Rainbow Family’s second Annual Conference titled Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK in Manchester on Saturday, 11th August 2018; now is the time to do so! Register free here. Read about our incredible speakers here and information about our last year’s stall bookings here.  Book your stall here.

African Rainbow Family has been incredibly blessed by the generosity of The Federation, Co-op Digital Olimpia BurchiellaroKirit Patel, through funding the Co-op Foundation has received from Omidyar Network and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group whom are sponsoring different parts of our Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK 2018 Annual Conference!  You and or your organisation can still join our valuable sponsors this year to sponsor other bits of the conference. Contact info@africanrainbowfamily.org on how you can be involved this year or for 2019.

As you are aware, African Rainbow Family is a non-for profit charitable movement supporting over 250 LGBTIQ people seeking asylum (and still counting) in the UK whilst intensifying our work of global equality campaign for ‘A World Without Prejudice’. We operate with little or no money but rely on people like you.

Can you help? Will you chip in £5, £10 or more every month to help our work? We would remain grateful for that. Contact us or visit our website for details of how to set up a monthly standing order, make one off donation and other ways to support to us.

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

 

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!

TweetA

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.

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

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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

 

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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.

IMAG3092_3

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

 

Stonewall Uprising: Rooting For Love

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Press Release, 4th July 2016

On the the 28th June 2016, members of African Rainbow Family, ACT UP LONDON and over 5000 people gathered at the Trafalgar Square in London to celebrate love and commemorate the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and radical LGBTIQ resistance, love and unity! Details of event here. “The event largely regarded as a catalyst for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) liberation movement for civil rights”, It’s astonishing therefore, that consensual same-sex relationships amongst adults are still widely criminalised in about a third of the world’s population. About 75 countries criminalise homosexuality, 53 of these are from the Commonwealth where all of African Rainbow Family members flee from following the wave of homophobia whipped against them.

It was an opportunity for our members to really celebrate Stonewall Uprising which saw lesbian gay bisexual transgender intersex queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+ ) community standing up and shutting down state repression, homophobia, trans misogyny and racism. The legacy, that we all enjoy today. It was an amazing experience to be part of history not to let fall the passion, resistance and bravery of our brothers, sisters, siblings who fought for the rights we enjoy now! They demanded “equality for homosexuals”, “Gay Power” and “Freedom Now”!

African Rainbow Family at the event, demanded that The Prime Minister, David Cameron and his government, The Foreign Office and Department for International Development (DfID) should as a matter of urgency put their words into practice and act thus:

  • Make available Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) nationwide to people who wish to have access to it; as promised by David Cameron.
  • Protect LGBT asylum seekers, grant them sanctuary in the UK and shut down detention centres.
  • Use their influence in engageing with the 40n out of the 53 Commonwealth countries that still criminalise consensual adult same-sex relationships to repeal such laws as the first step in changing cultural attitudes towards LGBT people.
  • Adopt the recommendations of the newly published inquiry report into The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights by The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights (APPG LGBT).

We took the message of love, solidarity and struggle and Root For Love in Trafalgar Square. Built a community committed to radical grassroots protests and empowerment for the whole community as all injustices are connected. “No single issue-struggle” – Audre Lorde.

We would like to thank those who donated generously and sponsored our members on this trip to celebrate diversity through song, dance, spoken words and sequins whilst challenging outdated perceptions, xenophobia, healthcare austerity and bigotry!

We continually fight for justice and building a strong contingent to counter LGBT discrimination, austerity HIVphobia, gender based violence, anti-black racism, double standards of political and religious leaders and LGBT xenophobia that still continue to attack our community. You made it possible for us to:

  • Pay tributes to founders of true radical LGBTIQA+ liberation
  • Have a feel of how liberation as LGBTIQ people was made a dream come true!
  • Unite in a joyful protest to send good tides to homophobic, repressive and draconian governments of countries where people are still criminalise for LOVE.
  • Spur our members who come from countries with repressive draconian laws against LGBTIQ people to think of how they could influence change in their different countries and one day achieve their liberation and freedom to be whom they are and equal before the laws of their lands.
  • Raise awareness and retell the story of the historic Stonewall Uprising once again in our communities in the UK.
  • Attract the media, encourage schools to engage in how the freedom of equality we enjoy today in the UK came about.

End.

For enquiries and media interests please contact:

info@africanrainbowfamily.org or www.africanrainbowfamily.org

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