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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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UK Parliament Urges For More Actions To Tackle Serious Breaches of LGBT Rights Globally

Press Release

14th April 2016 UK.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights (APPG LGBT) that recently had an inquiry into breaches of LGBT rights worldwide which African Rainbow Family and Aderonke Apata contributed to, has today, published its first report on  UK stance on international breaches of LGBT rights.

We welcome the findings and recommendations of APPG LGBT report particularly as it recognises that in the Home Office concerning LGBT asylum seekers: “The decision-making process needs to be improved in assessing LGBT asylum cases through improved staff training, potentially appointing specialist caseworkers for LGBT asylum cases. The policy guidance on gender identity claims needs to be reviewed”.

The need to offer protection to LGBT asylum seekers by the UK is equally paramount says members of African Rainbow Family who collectively say:

“We flee from these countries that this report has identified to breach our rights as LGBT people but we find it difficult why we are often not believed when we claim asylum in the UK based on our sexual orientation and gender identity due to our fears of persecution back in our home countries! We face the threat of deportation to violence from the UK, we hope this report will make a dramatic change in the handling of our claims, stop detaining us and subjecting us to more torture in the UK”

The report also goes to say “Voluntary groups fighting for LGBT rights in hostile environments around the world need more support from the UK, including the government, NGOs and businesses”. The report urges for “more practical support and funding for LGBT groups on the ground, as well as greater strategic co-ordination across government, to improve the effectiveness of British action”.

The group, which is supported by more than 100 MPs and Peers across the political parties, also calls for a clearly accountable figure to be appointed in Whitehall with the responsibility for co-ordinating and implementing a cross-government strategy.

The report states that 75 countries criminalise same-sex activity between consenting adults, accounting for 2.9 billion people or 40 per cent of the world’s population.  The punishment for these offences can be severe, with penalties ranging from lashings, life imprisonment and, in eight countries, death.  Over 400 million people live under laws which punish same-sex sexual activity with the death penalty.

Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family, a Nigerian human right activist and LGBT Equality advocate in her reaction to the report says:

“It is a good report, the scope of its finding is wide-ranged and recommendations are encouraging. The bane of it all is in the implementation of its recommendations. Don’t forget that most of these countries that criminalise LGBT people inherited these anti LGBT laws from their colonial master, Britain. It is imperatively important therefore, that the UK apologises for the pains and agony caused to LGBT people as a resultant of this archaic law.

Consultations and partnership collaboration need to be established by the UK government and LGBT citizens/activists of these countries including local civil rights group to ensure issues of  breaches of the rights of LGBT people are  addressed in an holistic manner. I urge the APPG LGBT group not to allow their hard work get swept under the carpet or allow this innovative report gather dust on the shelve”. Aderonke continues.

The APPG LGBT says “Beyond a vulnerability to violence, the report finds that LGBT people in countries which are hostile to their rights face a range of challenges, including economic and social exclusion and restricted access to health and other vital services.

The 60-page report is the first produced by the APPG LGBT which was set up by parliamentarians from across the political parties in June last year.  The group initiated a major inquiry into LGBT rights abuses, receiving submissions from over 40 organisations and individuals, and holding detailed oral evidence sessions at Westminster. The full report, including a summary of recommendations, can be found here

For more information, contact info@africanrainbowfamily.org

ENDS

 

A Case for HIV/AIDS Pandemic and Decriminalising Homosexuality

Press Release

06/02/2016

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ACT UP! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT AIDS! UNTIL THERE IS AN HIV / AIDS CURE FOR ALL!

In a ‘SILENCE = 40’ CAMPAIGN LAUNCH held in London on 5th Feb. 2016 by our friend ACT UP London in collaboration with African Rainbow Family and other  coalition of social justice movements such as musicians, activists, lawyers and politicians from the diaspora LGBTQI / HIV community living in Britain, members of African Rainbow Family shared their stories, informed, inspired and mobilised people to join in decriminalising homosexuality in order to reduce the HIV/AIDS pandemic experienced worldwide.

Our campaign to fight the criminalisation of homosexuality in the 40 Commonwealth countries across the world which drives increased infection rates and increased stigma (with a focus on ending criminalisation in the 76 countries where it is illegal) was re-awoken by many other voices as-well as the news of the bill to criminalise gay sex in India failing more poignant than ever.

Nigerian LGBTQIA+ activist, Aderonke Apata, who is currently campaigning to repeal Nigeria’s anti-gay law said “We know not, how many people are infected or dying of HIV/AIDS, and from prejudice-incited murder and oppression. On the topic of HIV/ AIDS transmission, diagnosis and treatment, Aderonke stressed, “There are no accurate statistics, due to social, legal, and cultural barriers (stigma, discrimination, sexual status and gender inequality). Nonetheless, we have access to stats from UNAIDS: in 2013 nearly 25 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa – that’s 71% of the global total. 1.5 million new infections were recorded. There were 1.1 million AIDS related deaths and 39% of adults were on antiretroviral treatment. Data on men who have sex with men (MSM) is extremely limited.”

Farooq

Farooq Muhammad of African Rainbow Family said:

“Access to healthcare system for all is a fundamental human rights, hence it is important for everyone to be able to access it. He also called for homosexuality to be decriminalised as this will ease the barriers limiting LGBTIQ people coming forward in countries that criminalise homosexuality to have access to testing, detecting and treatments of HIV/AIDS”.

 

 

Submitted Evidence to UK All Party Parliamentary Party Group (LGBT) – Homophobic Situation in Nigeria

“The role that UK parliamentarians can play in championing LGBT rights worldwide and responding when such rights are threatened with particular respect to the homophobic anti-gay law in Nigeria. (DOWNLOAD the report)

Slide2As part of our ongoing campaign to repeal the toxic Nigeria anti-gay law, we responded to The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global LGBT Rights’ request for evidence into its new major inquiry into breaches of LGBT rights worldwide on Tuesday 20 July 2015. The final report is expected to recommend a series of measures that the UK government, businesses and NGOs can take to enhance LGBT rights worldwide. More details here.

Our campaign to repeal Nigeria anti-gay law informed our stance to contribute to the success of the inquiry. A firsthand written evidence was submitted to The APPG LGBT within its six themes. See inquiry’s full Terms of Reference here.

Our submission titled “The role that UK parliamentarians can play in championing LGBT rights worldwide and responding when such rights are threatened with particular respect to the homophobic anti-gay law in Nigeria” is available for download.

The following recommendations were made to the inquiry:

  • Pressure Nigerian government to repeal the anti-gay law which is the first step in a long journey. Same applies to other such countries.
  • UK government to provide protection and sanctuary to LGBTI people fleeing Nigeria and other such homophobic countries until such a time that their mindset, religious and cultural beliefs improve.
  • Work with local LGBTI civil society organisations and human rights defenders to raise more awareness in Nigeria and such other countries to better understand inequalities faced by LGBTIs.
  • Work with indigenous groups to counter the rhetoric fed by religious leaders within and outside Nigeria and other countries.
  • At every opportunity, make the stand of the UK government known to Nigeria government and its officials.

ARF Submitted Evidence to UK All Party Parliamentary Party Group (LGBT)

“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.

publicity2.jpgThe 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 welcomes this great initiative and made its submission to The APPG LGBT.  The inquiry covered responses on six different themes. The full Terms of Reference is available 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

 

 

 

 

 

Rally Against LGBTI Persecutions In Commonwealth Nations

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Stand in solidarity with all Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people from The Commonwealth Nations who are persecuted due to their sexual orientation and or gender identity to demand equal rights and justice on Wednesday 25th November at The Commonwealth Secretariat, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX  at 12:30pm. Nearest tubes: Green Park & Piccadilly Circus.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM Malta2015) takes place in Malta from 27-29 November. Summit theme: The Commonwealth – Adding Global Value. It’s important that we call on the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOG) to take action and decriminalise homosexuality in all of their 40 countries out of the 53 that criminalise homosexuality.  Criminalising homosexuality is against the Commonwealth Charter 2013 and other international conventions that guarantee the rights of all citizens including those of LGBTIs  which member states sign up to uphold.

Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family that promotes LGBTIQ Equality globally says:

“The situation for LGBTI people in the 40 out of the 53 commonwealth countries that criminalise homosexuality is getting worse. It is more dire in some commonwealth countries. In Nigeria for example, apart from 14 years imprisonment, it also carries death penalty by stoning. Others include Cameroon, Uganda and Gambia.

The wave of homophobia is whipped up constantly against homosexuals including any one suspected to be one or working with them. Many have fled their countries in search of safety elsewhere as a result of mob attacks, homelessness, loss of employments, lack of health care services, state and non state persecution whilst those whom haven’t are constantly persecuted” she continues.

Join us next week Wednesday, 25th to demand equal rights and justice for our brothers and sisters who are oppressed by these homophobic commonwealth countries.

My Country Shut Her Doors Against Me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Since the insidious 2014 anti-LGBTI law was passed in Nigeria, there have been waves of police arrests and torture, anti-LGBTI mob attacks, public whippings, evictions from homes, harassment and discrimination against ‘suspected’ LGBTIs. Equality advocacy organisations and activists in Nigeria are not spared mistreatment,” said Aderonke Apata.

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

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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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Press Release: Rally to demand repeal of Nigeria’s anti-LGBTI laws

Repeal for rally press release

Rally to demand repeal of Nigeria’s anti-LGBTI laws

Stand in solidarity with Nigerian LGBTI people next Wednesday

Wednesday 30 September, 1-2pm.

Rally outside the Nigerian High Commission, 9 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BX (nearest tube stations Charing Cross and Embankment).

Map: https://goo.gl/EA5cDl

Put pressure on the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to uphold LGBTI human rights. We’ll hand in a petition with over 65,000 signatures, urging the repeal of all Nigeria’s anti-LGBT laws.

Let’s make it a rainbow event! Bring your banners, balloons and flags.

Sign up to the Facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/510171265810510

You can also sign the petition here: http://goo.gl/anNfCd

This rally is organised by Nigerian lesbian activist Aderonke Apata, with the support of the African LGBTI organisations, African Ranbow Family, 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, identified 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.

“Under a nineteenth century law imposed by the British colonial administration, male homosexuality is punishable in Nigeria by a sentence of 14 years imprisonment,” added Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“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 stipulates10 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 Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell

Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

0207 403 1790

Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org

www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

Aderonke Apata
African Rainbow Family 07711285567
info@AfricanRainbowFamily.org
www.AfricanRainbowFamily.org

ENDS

Breaking News – The Petition Is Working!

Continue reading “Breaking News – The Petition Is Working!”

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