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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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Solidarity

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

Rooting For Love

Thank you so very much for your genorosity. Do encourage your friends and networks to join in and donate too!

Exactly 35 years ago, cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a mysterious, deadly disease afflicting and killing gay men on a mass unprecedented scale were reported.

Every little helps! Will you ask your friends to donate £5 each?

There have been many advancements made in the treatments of AIDS; but more can still be done. We can nonetheless, make AIDS a non-life-threatening disease and even non-existence in our communities with the availability of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a preventativve measure in transmitting/spreading AIDS. The case for PrEP is NOW – demand the NHS make PrEP available NOW!!!

If we all chip in £5 each, our goal would be reached

We must not forget that about a third of the world’s population is still criminalised for consensual adult same-sex relationships; hence making it difficult for people living with HIV/AIDS to come forward for testing, detecting and treatments. This is why we implore you to join in, donate and make ACT UP FOR LOVE Stonewall Uprising Trip possible!

Donate here #Root4LOVE   #ACTUP4LOVE

 

 

 

ACT UP FOR LOVE! – June 28th 2016 – Celebrating Radical LGBTQI Resistance, Love and Unity

ACT UP FOR LOVE 2016 – Celebrating Radical LGBTQI Resistance, Love and Unity

Full list of performers and Speakers to be announced

June 28th 2016 – 6-8pm Trafalgar Square, London, facebook event page here

 

ACT UP FOR LOVE is organised by African Rainbow Family(www.africanrainbowfamily.org)and ACT UP London

AFRICAN RAINBOW FAMILY, is proud to be part of ACT UP FOR LOVE and say as follows:
  • It is against any fundamental human rights to be criminalised for love. The control, power and authority of our greedy, hypocritical and cynical political and religious leaders need to be challenged in the interest of equality, freedom, prosperity and justice.
  • It is high time that all legal barriers to equality and human rights for all be abolished in order for LGBTIQ people living in countries that criminalise them begin to access testing, detection and treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Read more here

 

ACT UP London

ACT UP FOR LOVE 2016 – Celebrating Radical LGBTQI Resistance, Love and Unity

Full list of performers and Speakers to be announced

June 28th 2016 – 6-8pm Trafalgar Square, London, facebook event page here , website here – www.actuplondon.wordpress.comand last years video here.

ACT UP FOR LOVE @ Trafalgar Square June 2015 from Jeremy Goldstein for LAP on Vimeo.

On June 28th, we mark the 47th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which saw the LGBTQIA*+ community standing up and shutting down state repression and homophobia, transmisogny and racism. Though nearly half a century has passed, we do not let fall the passion, resistance and bravery of our brothers, sisters and siblings who fought for the rights we enjoy.  

Stonewall Uprising demanded “equality for homosexuals,” “Gay power,” and “freedom now!” We take their message of love, solidarity and struggle and#ACTUP4Lovein the square and build…

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International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) 2016 : Mental Health and Well Being

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This year, the theme of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT2016) is Mental Health and Well Being.

Mental health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing where every individual realises own potential. Cope with stress of life, work productively and fruitfully and able to contribute to her or his community. Unfortunately for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people including those who are nonbinary living in any of the over 70 countries in the world where consensual same-sex relationships are criminalised and even sometimes by death penalty; it is absolutely impossible to fulfill any meaningful mental health.

Hear what Aderonke Apata, Nigerian human right activist and LGBT equality advocate says:

“Today’s IDAHOT day! Many people like me globally, are still not free to love whom they want to love. Will you stand by, for and with us on this International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia? Especially LGBT asylum seekers and refugees for acceptance. Challenge hate crimes and embrace diversity and inclusion.”

Kaleidoscope

In commemorating the IDAHOT2016, Aderonke delivered a speech at the Kaleidoscope Trust 4th Annual Lecture to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) focusing on the global theme for IDAHOBIT 2016: Mental Health and Wellbeing. Read full speech here.

IDAHOT 2016

Speaking at the IDAHOBIT 2016 Hate Crime Vigil to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) in Sackville Gardens in Manchester’s Gay Village organised by LGBT Foundation; Aderonke thanked and paid tribute to those who’ve fought for LGBT rights, now and in future.

“We must not forget that within the LGBT umbrella, people of colour are still discriminated against. As much as Manchester is a receptive and welcoming place for refugees, racism is still rife in LGBT community.  We need to tackle discrimination from within as well and embrace inclusion. There is a lot to be done for LGBT people overseas, to whom we must extend our solidarity” Aderonke added.

 

17th May 2016

 

International Family Equality Day 2016 Celebrations

Members of African Rainbow Family were at the Brighton International Family Equality Day  #IFED2016 on 1st May 2016. Watch the video here

 The International Family Equality Day (IFED) has combined with Rainbow Families Brighton to bring IFED to Brighton on the 1st of May! IFED looks to increase international visibility for LGBTI Families. As well as raising awareness of sexual orientation and gender diversity within families, IFED provides an opportunity for LGBTI parents and their children to celebrate their families and communities.

The International Family Equality Day (IFED) has combined with Rainbow Families Brighton to bring IFED to Brighton on the 1st of May! IFED looks to increase international visibility for LGBTI Families. As well as raising awareness of sexual orientation and gender diversity within families, IFED provides an opportunity for LGBTI parents and their children to celebrate their families and communities.

At this year’s IFED, we combined with Rainbow Families, soft play, provided activities for children and a hockey masterclass!

We met new Rainbow Families and had fun in the art therapy we engaged in!

This is what Gearoge Sanderson of IFED says:

“Thank you to everyone who came out to support International Family Equality Day, it was a great turnout on a great day, and a huge step towards spreading IFED in the UK. It’s brilliant to see so many people supporting the ‘families without borders’ motto. A special thanks to Liz Corder and Kathryn for organising the day. And thank you to Apata Ronnie and African Rainbow Family for making the long journey down!”

Members of African Rainbow Family say:

“We found the meeting up, the opportunity to travel out of Manchester for a celebration of equality day with fellow LGBT people and their families, and the brilliant reception accorded us by the amazing Brighton Rainbow Families therapeutic and relaxing. This experience is much more than anything else!

“This kind of gathering and celebration of Rainbow Families of LGBT people can never  happen in my country Nigeria or any of our members’ country because of the criminalisation of consensual same-sex relationships and discrimination against LGBT people ” says Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family. I look forward to when such will happen in my country! Can’t  wait for Brighton Pride in August!!!!” she continues.

1st May 2016

ENDS

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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