Ground-breaking statement on sexual orientation and gender identity by record number of 85 States

On 22 March 2011 the Human Rights Council (the Council) held a general debate on follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action(VDPA). The VDPA reaffirms core principles of the international human rights framework, including the universality of human rights and non-discrimination. The highlight of the meeting was a joint statement delivered by Colombia on behalf of 85 States on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (view a video of the statement). This is the highest number of States ever signing on to a statement of this kind. A joint NGO statement, with 119 signatories, including ISHR, commended States for the initiative and noted in particular the broad cross-regional support for the statement.

The debate also saw vital participation of networks of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) from all regions, including a cross-regional joint statement of NHRIs in support of the statement by the group of States. It emphasised that NHRIs all over the world are advocating the rights of LGBTI people regardless of the different cultural backgrounds they are working in. The statement further called on the Council to hold a panel discussion on the protection of human rights of LGBTI people. Continue reading

New Archbishop of Nigeria Anglican Church declares support for homophobia

The Archbishop of Nigeria
Most Revd N.D. Okoh - Archbishop

In an unexpected but dramatic turn of events yesterday at St Marylebone Parish Church London, the Coordinator of Justice for Gay Africans Society [JfGA], Mr. Godwyns Onwuchekwa, confronted the newly consecrated Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Nigeria on issues relating to Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender [LGBT].

“Let me say this; the Anglican Church in Nigeria, emphatically does not accept gay people. Our bible is against it, the word of God is against it. Gay or lesbianism or whatever… it is like saying we condone drug users. What we offer them is repentance and deliverance from that evil spirit. Do not come here to tell me about grace; what grace? We will never accept it”, the Archbishop furiously replied.

The Archbishop, the Most Revd N.D. Okoh succeeded the former well known homophobic Akinola. Mr. Okoh was on a pastoral visit to Nigerians of the Anglican faith in the UK and held an interactive open meeting at St Marylebone Parish Church London.

In his question, Godwyns who was brought up a Christian of the Anglican faith quoted the controversial Leviticus 18:22 which condemns homosexual sex, but also compared it to the subsequent verses in the same line of laws in Leviticus 21:17 which outlaws priests with physical disabilities. He then asked how the Archbishop how he will turn a new page for the church in Nigeria to desist from influencing state-sponsored homophobia.

“While Mr. Okoh did not come across as hateful as his predecessor, the hint of homophobia in him was evidently clear. However, unlike his predecessor, his tolerance to take the question and respond to it indicates a ray of light if there be onward peaceful dialogue and this is what we hope to continue to seek. We will continue to engage and hope that people in the black communities would embrace such dialogue towards understanding and respecting the natural rights of LGBT people amongst them”, says Godwyns Onwuchekwa

The audience of about 100 people, mainly of Nigerian origin were divided on the issue. At the end of the Archbishop’s adamant response, a few of them clapped to it. The meeting ended without any physical quarrel and the Archbishop went to the back seats to meet Godwyns and hugged him.

Is this a new beginning or a dead end?

The Archbishop of Nigeria is the spiritual head of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, an independent church in communion with the world Anglican Church. The Church of Nigeria has encouraged a break-away church opposing the world Anglican accepting or ordaining gay people since the consecration of Gene Robinson in the USA in 2003.

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David Kato Assassinated: Would The Lives Of Gay African People Ever Be Safer?

The news today that David Kato, a staunch and prominent Human Rights activist in Uganda is a big threat and raises newer fears. David dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of gay African people in Uganda right up to his death earlier today.

Information available stated that a man came in a vehicle, went into his house, hit him [twice] on the head and went back into his car and left. An undoubtedly hate crime. Could we argue that this isnt inspired by homophobia? David died on the way to the hospital.

Such is the life of gay people across many African countries and such is the ease with which anyone can attack them. For this assailant in Uganda, he had the boldness to do this horrible crime in broad daylight at 1pm [as reported] because he has the confidence that rarely would anyone care? Yes, after all, he is ‘cleansing the land’.

In a country where a [Anti-Homosexual] Bill is still in the Parliament, condoned and possibly going to be passed into law proposing the hanging to death of gay men and women, motivating homophobia and hate by insisting families must report to the police once they know someone is gay. The same bill insist that health workers, spiritual leaders, communities and everyone to behave in such manners. The Bill’s introduction claims it is trying to safeguard the tradition of Uganda, etc. Continue reading

What Should We Do?

Many Africans and Caribbeans are still facing disbelief and distrust that they are gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The system these days by the United Kingdom Boarder Agency (UKBA), the body charged with immigration matters in the UK, is that they don’t tell this people that they are not gay but that they are not likely to face discrimination, nor homophobic attack, even death in their countries.

Isnt this denial by the government agency a blatant ignorance of reality when countries like Malawi, Nigeria and Jamaica, amongst others still have existing laws prescribing years in imprisonment for homosexual people and any attempt to engage in what is termed ‘against the order of nature’?

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What is worst is that in the past, the government used to argue that these laws are never used, but recently, we saw Malawi use it on 2 young men who, if not for worldwide intervention, would be rotting away in jail today. At the end, refugee status is being offered on a platter of gold to them now. Does the governments in developed countries want us all to be put on the gallows first before they can intervene. Such may be a waste of tears.

The truth is that many young men and women has been killed silently due to their sexuality and many are still going through that. Many are living in fear, losing their jobs, facing blackmail, and even being denied education and healthcare; just because they are gay.

Immanuel from Gambia was deported from the Netherlands last year and today, nobody knows his whereabouts? The likelihood that he is dead is high because having fled his country initially and sought asylum as a gay person, he was known to be a homosexual… if Immanuel is alive, it is unlikely that he will not be in touch with people in Europe whom he knows cares for and fights for his cause in Europe. But no one has been able to reach him all this while.

We need a collective action to ask the government of United Kingdom and all other developed countries to stop and think. We need to devise a way to bring governments across the world who has the wherewithal to save these people to act and not wait.

In Australia, Jay from Sri Lanka, a 22 year old man is locked up in prison because he is gay. In Nigeria, Peter, a young Nigerian Soldier is locked up in the Army detention for nearly 2 years now centre because he is suspected to be gay. 18 other young men between the ages of 18 and 13 are attending courts periodically charged with homosexuality and are simply being frustrated through this action.

In the UK, countless young men and women are locked up in immigration detention centres across the country and every day one more is being forcefully removed. But we need to turn this around. It cannot go on like.

We are rejected but must not reject ourselves. We would not watch and die in silence when there are places we can run to for life and safety. Why should we die before we live? Is that possible?

JfGA is asking for your suggestions, input, advice on what we can do to stop world governments who can help to rethink their position. Please click on our contact page to send your comment.

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Letter to UK Prime Minister & Party leaders on the Pope’s Visit

ATTN:

Acting Leader of the Opposition,

Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman, MP

House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA

Dear Ms. Herman,

Stand up for British people; Stand up for Equality and Justice

As the Pope arrives UK on what is unfortunately termed a ‘State visit’, it is to our understanding that you will be meeting him at some point in accordance with this occasion. This therefore presents a very strategic and useful opportunity for the British government to address many issues of concern with the Pope.

The Pope, Benedict XVI, as a leader of the world’s largest religious denomination, has enormous authority within his jurisdiction with access to the ears of millions of Catholic faithful . However, we fear that the Pope has simply been using this very power in the wrongly by;

Inciting hatred,

Encouraging ignorance,

Upholding inequality and

Colluding with abusers.

Justice for Gay Africans [JfGA] Society acknowledges Continue reading

Welcome Brief – Strategic Planning Meeting

A welcome brief by Godwyns Onwuchekwa on the first Strategic Planning meeting of Justice for Gay Africans Society.

Justice for Gay Africans Society

Strategic Planning Meeting

Welcome brief

Thank you for agreeing to participate in today’s meeting. As detailed in the invitation (email) you received, our objective today will be to come up with the scope of how this group will operate and go about achieving its aims (see below).

Before we go on, I would remind us again the reason and focus of this group.

I started Justice for Gay Africans Society as a result of a desire that runs in almost every gay black person I have come across: and that desire is for us to Continue reading

Sexuality, Right or Left Hand. Where Do You Draw The Line Of Normalcy

Some people argue the issue of sexuality on the description of normal and abnormal, right and wrong, moral and immoral. But the question has to be asked; where do you draw the line between these descriptions? What justifies issues as normal, moral, right, or how do they fall over to the other sides?

As agreeable by both sides of the argument, without sentiments, black could be white if only called so; no? same could apply to the rest of our definitions. But one thing springs to mind: are these definitions just, or are they our own personal sentiments. You may beg to differ.

And I will condone your refusal. But if heterosexuality is ‘normal’, is left-handedness abnormal? One should presume so. After all, Continue reading