AMSHeR, African CSOs Honour Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders of the African Commission

16 May 2014 – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia [IDAHOT]

 Geneva – The African Men for Sexual Health and Rights [AMSHeR] joins the world in marking this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia [IDAHOT].

When Nigerian and Ugandan’s presidents signed into law the Same-Sex Marriage [Prohibition] Act and the Anti-Homosexuality Act in January and February respectively this year, Madame Reine Alapine-Gansou, Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders issued two media statements condemning the laws and highlighting their implication for the violation of the human rights of LGBTI persons and human rights defenders working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. In previous sessions of the African Commission, during the country review process, Madame Gansou has consistently questioned State delegates about the human rights situation of marginalised and minority populations with their countries including sexual and gender minorities and their human rights defenders [HRDs].

In appreciation of her leadership, over 120 African civil society organisation and human rights defenders signed on to a letter expressing our solidarity with the special rapporteur and her mandate. This letter [see below] was formally presented to her in Geneva on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia [IDAHOT] at the UNAIDS IDAHOT commemoration event where she had been speaking on the role of regional and international human rights mechanisms in addressing homophobia and transphobia. AMSHeR also presented her with an Exceptional Contributions Award.

Responding after the presentation of the Letter of Appreciation and the Award, she reiterated the role of HRDs in the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and reminded that the homophobia, transphobia and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a reality in all parts of the world, not just in Africa, and that the fight against these must be a collective effort. She dedicated the award to her colleagues and fellow commissioner of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and pledged the commission’s commitment to fulfilling their mandate under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

END

For further enquiries contact the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights [AMSHeR]:

Kene C. Esom

Director of Programmes

+2711 482 4630; kene@amsher.net; www.amsher.org

 

L – R Bechir N’Daw [Senir Regional Human Rights & Law Advisor, UNAIDS RST/ESA]; Mme Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on HRDs, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Kene Esom, Director of Programmes, AMSHeR; Luiz Loures, Executive Deputy Director, UNAIDS HQ.

L – R Bechir N’Daw [Senir Regional Human Rights & Law Advisor, UNAIDS RST/ESA]; Mme Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on HRDs, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Kene Esom, Director of Programmes, AMSHeR; Luiz Loures, Executive Deputy Director, UNAIDS HQ.

Lettre des organisations de défense des droits de l’Homme en Afrique à l’Honorable Mme Reine Alapini-Gansou, Commissaire à la Commission Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples et Rapporteur spécial sur les défenseurs des droits de l’Homme en Afrique, 28 Avril 2014.

Honorable Mme la Commissaire,

Les organisations de Défense des Droits Humains en Afrique ont accueilli avec satisfaction et saluent par la présente votre prise de position contre les lois discriminatoires, exprimée à traversla publication de deux déclarations dénonçant l’impact des récentes lois promulguées par le Nigéria et Ougandaise sur la sécurité, la dignité, l’intégrité et le bien-être des populations Lesbiennes, Gays, Bisexuelles, Transgenres et Intersexuels (LGBTI) et de leurs défenseurs des droits humains.

Au courant du mois de janvier 2014, le Président Nigérian, Goodluck Jonathan, a promulgué une loi portant interdiction du mariage entre adultes consentants de même sexe ; loi qui compromet fortement les avancées en matière de riposte au VIH et les efforts fournis par les défenseurs des droits humains travaillant pour la promotion et la protection des droits humains pour tous au Nigeria. Cette loi prescrit de lourdes peines contre les personnes homosexuelles contre toute personne ou groupe de personnes apportant un soutien à la mise en place et/ou au fonctionnement des structures considérées comme « homosexuelles ».

En mars 2014, le Président Ougandais, Yoweri K. Museveni, a promulgué une loi pénalisant davantage les relations sexuelles entre personnes adultes consentants de même sexe. Cette loi déclare criminelle toute organisation travaillant sur les thèmes liés à l’orientation sexuelle, l’identité et l’expression de genre ; impose l’obligation à charge de tout individu de dénoncer toute personne réellement ou présumée homosexuelle, et prescrit une peine à perpétuité contre les cas de récidive.

Ces lois constituent une discrimination institutionnalisée contrairement aux engagements pris par les deux Etats en ratifiant la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples, du fait qu’elles affectent gravement et négativement les avancées en matière de la riposte au VIH et d’accès universel aux droits par les personnes réellement ou présumées homosexuelles, victimes des cas de discriminations, d’agressions et de violences populaires résultant de la promulgation des lois homophobes.

A la suite de cette dégradation de la situation des droits de l’Homme à l’encontre des personnes LGBTI et de l’environnent de travail de leurs défenseurs des droits humains, vous avez, Honorable Commissaire, rendu publiques deux déclarations condamnant ces lois et appelant les Etats à les abroger.

Nous vous exprimons nos encouragements et apprécions votre leadership qui amènera la Commission toute entière à condamner davantage les lois et pratiques discriminatoires ainsi que les cas de violence par l’adoption de la Résolution sur la violence et les violations des droits humains à l’encontre des personnes sur base de leur orientation sexuelle et de l’identité de genre réelles ou supposées en Afrique, pendante devant la CADHP depuis la 54e session ordinaire.

Veuillez trouver en annexe les signataires de la lettre :

 

(Original in French)

Letter to the Honorable Madam Reine Alapini-Gansou, Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa from the Organizations defending Human Rights in Africa, April 28th, 2014.

Honorable Madam Commissioner,

By this letter the undersigned organizations defending human rights in Africa welcome and acknowledge your position against discrimination, that has been expressed by the two statements denouncing the impact of the laws recently adopted by the governments of Nigeria and Uganda; such laws undermine the safety, dignity, integrity and well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) populations and their human rights defenders.

In the month of January 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria signed an act that prohibits same sex marriage among consenting adults; this law substantively undermines the efforts undertaken to fight HIV as well as the activities of human rights defenders who work for the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria. Its provisions include heavy criminal penalties against homosexual individuals and/or any individual or organization supporting the creation and/or the operations of any structure that is considered as “gay.”

In March 2014, President Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda signed an act that goes beyond criminalizing sexual conducts between same sex consenting adults: it criminalizes any organization working on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; it establishes the obligation for any individual to report any person because of his/her real or presumed homosexuality, as well as life imprisonment for recidivists.

These laws constitute institutional discrimination contrary to the obligations that states have agreed upon by ratifying the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. They also seriously and negatively impact on progress in the fight against HIV, limit the universal access to rights for individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, who are victims of discrimination, aggression, mob violence as a consequence of the adoption of these homophobic laws.

Following these negative developments for human rights of LGBTI individuals and the working environment of their human rights defenders, you, Honorable Commissioner, have issued two statements condemning these laws and calling on the states to repeal them.

We would like to express our support and gratitude for your leadership that we hope will bring the whole Commission to condemn discriminatory laws and practices as well as violence by adopting the Resolution on violence and human rights violations of individuals on grounds of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in Africa, which is currently pending for the consideration of the ACmHPR during its 55th ordinary session.

You will find below the signatories of the letter:

 

Les signataires / Signatories:

 

ORGANISATIONS

 

  1. Abu Nawas, Algeria
  2. ACLS Mauritania
  3. ACODEVO Cameroon
  4. Action Contre le SIDA, Togo
  5. Action for Men’s Sexual Health and Right Network, Sierra Leone (AMSHRINET – SL)
  6. Advocates for Grassroot Empowerment (AGE), Nigeria
  7. Affirmative Action, Cameroon
  8. African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR)
  9. Aide Senegal
  10. Aids Acodev, Cameroon
  11. AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA)
  12. AIDS Legal Network, South Africa
  13. Alternative Cote D’Ivoire
  14. Amka Empowerment Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  15. Angels Refugees Support Group Association, Uganda
  16. Arc en Ciel Plus, Cote D’Ivoire
  17. Artist for Acceptance and Recognition, Kenya
  18. Association des Femmes pour une Relève Orientée (AFRO-BENIN), Benin
  19. Associação de Reintegração dos Jovens/Crianças na Vida Social SCARJoV – Angola
  20. Bedayaa Organisation for LGBTIQ in Nile River Areas, Egypt and Sudan
  21. Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA)
  22. Centre for Human Rights – University of Pretoria, South Africa
  23. Centre for Human Rights Research (CHRR), Malawi
  24. Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), Malawi
  25. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa
  26. Changing Attitude Nigeria
  27. CHOUF, Tunisia
  28. Club des 7 Jjours Lome, Togo
  29. Coalition for African Lesbians (CAL)
  30. Coalition for the Defense of Sexual Rights, Nigeria
  31. Coalition Sida, Bénin
  32. DAMJ for Justice and Equality, Algeria
  33. Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, South Africa
  34. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
  35. Femmes et Droits Humains Mali
  36. Freedom and Roam Uganda
  37. Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)
  38. Friends of Rainka, Zambia
  39. Frontline Defenders
  40. Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)
  41. Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
  42. Health Empowerment and Rights, Botswana
  43. Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights
  44. House of Rainbow, Nigeria
  45. Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, Uganda
  46. Human Rights Watch
  47. Inclusive and Affirming Ministries, South Africa
  48. Initiative for the Advancement of Humanity (IAH), Nigeria
  49. Initiatives Educateurs contre le Sida, Benin
  50. International Centre for Advocacy on the Right to Health (ICARH), Nigeria
  51. International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
  52. IRIS Angola
  53. Jinsiangu Kenya
  54. Kenya Human Rights Commission
  55. L’association Adama, Senegal
  56. Ladder for Rural Development CBO (LAFORD)
  57. LAMBDA- Mozambican Association for Sexual Minority Rights, Mozambique
  58. LGBT Voice, Tanzania
  59. MAN: Initiative for Improved Male Health, Nigeria
  60. Matrix Support Group – Lesotho
  61. Men for Health and Gender Justice,
  62. Mouvement pour la Solidarité des Minorité – LS, Benin
  63. Mouvement pour les libertés individuelles, Burundi
  64. Mouvement pour les Libertés Individuelles, Burundi
  65. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Kenya
  66. Network of AIDs services Organization (NASO) The Gambia
  67. Nigeria Association of LGBT’s Abroad
  68. NYARWEK, Kenya
  69. ONG Secours Social, Cote D’Ivoire
  70. Organisation du Corridor Abidjan, Lagos
  71. PaKasipiti Zimbabwe
  72. Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRD-Net)
  73. Pan-Africa ILGA
  74. People Marginalised and Aggrieved (PEMA) Kenya
  75. Queer Alliance, Nigeria
  76. Queer Youth Africa Networking Centre (QAYN) Burkina Faso
  77. Rainbow Candle Light, Burundi
  78. Rainbow Identity Association, Botswana
  79. Rainbow Sunrise Mapambazukp, DRC
  80. Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO)
  81. Réseau Des Défenseurs Des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale (REDDHAC)
  82. Réseau National de Lutte contre l’Homophobie, Benin
  83. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
  84. SIPD – Uganda
  85. SIPD-Uganda
  86. Social, Health and Empowerment Feminist Collective of Transgender Women of Africa (SHE)
  87. Solidarity Alliance for Human Rights, Nigeria
  88. Stay Awake Network Activities (SANA) Tanzania
  89. Tanzania Network of Women living with HIV and AIDS, East Africa
  90. Tanzania Sisi Kwa Sisi Foundation
  91. The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER) Nigeria
  92. The Inner Circle, South Africa
  93. The International Center for Reproductive Rights (INCRESE), Nigeria
  94. Together for Women’s Rights (TWR), Burundi
  95. Tous Nés Libres et Egaux, Benin
  96. Trans Support Initiative Uganda (TSIU)
  97. TransBantu Zambia
  98. Triangle Project, South Africa
  99. UHAI-EASHRI
  100. Voices of Abasiyazi Project, Uganda
  101. Women Working with Women – Kenya
  102. Women’s Health and Equal Rights Initiative (WHER) Nigeria
  103. Youth and Children’s Rights Shield (YOCRIS)
  104. Zanizibar Youth Empowerment Association, Tanzania
  105. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

INDIVIDUALS

  1. Ayesha Imam – Nigeria
  2. Clare Byarugaba – Uganda
  3. Davis Mac-Iyalla
  4. Dorothy Anken’ova – Nigeria
  5. Flavia Zalwango – Uganda
  6. Francis BEHANZIN – Benin
  7. Irwin Iradukunda – Burundi
  8. James Nduwayezu – Burundi
  9. John Adeniyi – Nigeria
  10. Julius Kaggwa – Uganda
  11. Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera – Human Rights Defender – Uganda
  12. Kene C. Esom – South Africa
  13. Leigh Ann van der Merwe – Human Rights Defender – South Africa
  14. Nassir Sallau – Nigeria
  15. Nikki Mawanda – Uganda
  16. Paula Abuor – Kenya
  17. Pierre Meyer – Burkina Faso
  18. Sandrine Kamariza – Burundi