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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.

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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Breaking News – The Petition Is Working!

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

There Is No Pride In Criminalising Love – Pride is Protest

ARF at ManchesterPride
ARF’s members marched in solidarity with all oppressed LGBTIs

Manchester Pride is an annual gay pride festival and parade held each summer in the city of Manchester, England.

Members of African Rainbow Family were in attendance this year and celebrated the event with lots of fun and mixed feelings. We marched with pride as LGBTIs!

However, we remember that some people in nearly 76 countries in the world CANNOT exercise such human rights – their entitlement.

“There is no pride in criminalising love, hence we marched in the pride as protest. No one should suffer for love”.

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Pride is protest

Our members marched for all persecuted and oppressed LGBTIs around the world and especially in Nigeria.

Join us to make a change. Sign this petition to repeal Nigeria anti-gay law

Obama’s Good News Tides For Africa – LGBT Rights, True Democracy For Africa

Obama’s Good News Tides For Africa – LGBT Rights, True Democracy For Africa President Barack Obama of the United State of America has embarked on a landmark revolutionary turn around journey of Africa as a whole. The messages of hope, inspiration and optimism by the US president have come at a time when all African nations need a revamp of their machineries.

To kick start this historic milestone in showing his commitments to reforming and boosting Africa and placing her on top of the world’s agenda, Obama extended a personal invitation to the Nigerian newly elected president, Muhammadu Buhari who visited Washington on 20th July 2015.

Nigeria in 2014, passed the harshest law against homosexuality which seeks to criminalise LGBT people to up to 14 years imprisonment. LGBT supporting organisation are not spared of jail terms either. The US visit however,  was essentially to rebuild the broken bilateral relationships between the two countries and thought to restore international confidence in the crumbling political, social and economic stands of Nigeria. Buhari reiterated his commitments to national security, war against terrorism from Boko Haram, war against the endemic bribery and corruption culture which has eaten into the fabric of Nigeria, trade and economic relations.

Little did we know it was to be followed by opening a huge tunnel of opportunities for Africa, both economic and human rights reforms. The world’s most powerful leader has chosen to physically go to Africa and preach the good news of equality and human rights especially in the wake of criminalisation of homosexuality across most African countries.

Obama during his visit to Kenya said: “I’ve been consistent all across Africa on this. When you start treating people differently,because they’re different, that’s the path whereby freedoms begin to erode. And bad things happen”. This message seems to sound toxic so far to presidents Mohammadu Buhari and his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

On Wednesday 20th July Buhari rejected gay marriage push from Obama and said  that ” sodomy is against the law of Nigeria and strange to our culture” says his spokesperson; whilst Kenyatta said “gay rights issue is a non-issue for Kenyans”!

However, Obama parted saying Africans should choose path of progress, anti corruption, investments in Africa and embracing human rights. African Rainbow Family asks: Does President Buhari Prefer The Terrorists – Boko Haram to LOVE?!

Read the open letter to Obama and sign the petition to repeal the Nigerian Same-sex marriage prohibition law  here and here.

For further information:

Aderonke Apata

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

www.AfricanRainbowFamily.org

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

28th July 2015

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