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African Rainbow Family

Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) People of African Heritage including Refugees and wider Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Groups

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President Buhari

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

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

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

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

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

The following recommendations were made to the inquiry:

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

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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Breaking News – The Petition Is Working!

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

There Is No Pride In Criminalising Love – Pride is Protest

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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

President Buhari Prefers The Terrorists – Boko Haram!

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Does President Buhari Prefer The Terrorists – Boko Haram?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information:

Aderonke Apata

info@africanrainbowfamily.org

www.africanrainbowfamily.org

To support our work, please contact us here.

27th July 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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