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Pan Africa ILGA Board announces Acting Executive Director

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PRESS STATEMENT

22 August 2017

Pan Africa ILGA Board announces Acting Executive Director.

The Board of Pan Africa ILGA is pleased to announce and welcome Nate Brown as the acting Executive Director of Pan Africa ILGA in the absence of Executive Director, Monica Tabengwa.

Monica Tabengwa will be taking time off during her sabbatical to complete her LLM dissertation in Senegal. From 1 August till December 2017. Nate Brown will accordingly fill in as Acting Executive Director till Monica returns to office fully.

Nate Brown has been working for Pan Africa ILGA as the Finance Manager for over a year and has extensive experience in the sector. He has intimate understanding of PAI’s vision and strategic goals, which makes him suited for the role. “I am very grateful for the opportunity Pan Africa ILGA has given me to grow and gain more experience in the movement. I am delighted and honoured to serve in this position as mandated to me by the Board of PAI. I look forward to working together with the Board and staff members at PAI to serve our community. I am happy to work in a team that, despite the challenges of a growing NGO, still manages to preserve a hands-on, practical mentality.” says Nate Brown.

The Board is confident that Nate Brown will successfully carry out the mandate of Pan Africa ILGA, and we encourage all our members and partners to support him. Ms. Tabengwa will continue to provide support where needed to ensure continuity of ongoing projects.

Statement issued by the Board of Pan Africa ILGA

###END###

Kumkani Sivu Siwisa
Communications & Membership Officer
Sivu.Siwisa@panafricailga.org
+27 (11) 339 1139
www.panafricailga.org

 

PRESS STATEMENT: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia 2017: Commemorating Families of LGBTI People.

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PRESS STATEMENT
17 May 2017

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia 2017:

Commemorating Families of LGBTI People.

 

In spite of the numerous gains made worldwide towards acceptance and non-discrimination towards people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, in most parts of Africa, these gains are yet to be felt. Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia still persist. States still have, within their laws, provisions that criminalize same-sex conduct. They still do not protect LGBTI people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Sections of the society still ostracise LGBTI people subjecting them to various forms of abuse including sexual violence and murder, physical violence and forced sterilizations, arbitrary arrests and forced anal testing.

As the world celebrates the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia focusing on families, we at Pan Africa ILGA acknowledge that there is indeed a need to focus on the role of families in the well-being of their LGBTI members. But we are saddened by what is happening in Africa today. We mourn with the family of Matisetso Alleta “Nonkie” Smous, a woman murdered for no other reason other than the fact that she loved another woman. We mourn with the family of Lerato Moloi who was raped and stoned to death because she dared to be different. These South African families and many others in the continent have suffered pain and loss at the hands of people who did not consider their children human.

The importance of families cannot possibly be undermined in the development of a society. When a person in our family leaves, they create a hole. One that cannot be filled by anyone else. Let us remember the many African families that have senselessly lost a loved one. The South African government ought to do something about these deaths of innocent individuals. How long must people suffer over who they are and love? How many more must die before something is done?” Monica Tabengwa – PAI Executive Director

As we celebrate families. Pan Africa ILGA calls on you to think about the families that have lost their loved ones due to homophobia, biphobia or transphobia. We call upon you to think about the LGBTI individuals who cannot be with their families because those families do not accept them for who they are. We call upon you to be the family we all want to have. Because it is love that makes a family.

 

Media Contacts:

Kumkani Sivu Siwisa                                         Anthony Oluoch

sivu.siwisa@panafricailga.org                         anthony.oluoch@panafricailga.org

PRESS STATEMENT

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02 May 2017

Joburg, South Africa: Pan Africa ILGA Welcomes New Staff Members

Pan Africa ILGA welcomes Anthony Oluoch and Sivu Siwisa who are joined us on 2 May 2017 as our new Programmes Manager and Programme Officer: Communications, respectively.

Anthony Oluoch is a Kenyan lawyer who has worked within the LGBTI movement for the past 7 years. He worked as the Legal and Human Rights Officer at the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya where he was instrumental in the design and initial implementation of what was then, a strategy towards decriminalization of adult consensual same sex conduct. He then joined Gay Kenya Trust, an organization that works towards equality and non-discrimination for all including gay and lesbian individuals in Kenya. He currently sits on the advisory panel of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award and the board of the IDAHOT Committee.

Sivu Siwisa is a Black Queer Non-Conforming Feminist and LGBTIAPQ+ activist with a huge appetite for communications, advocacy, movement building and organising. They are a Communications Specialist by training, and are committed to using feminist frameworks to create communications tools and strategies for social justice work across the continent. Sivu has worked for South Africa’s leading advertising agencies as a Copywriter and has also worked at Gender DynamiX as a Media and Communication Officer. They were instrumental in the inception of the Alternative Inclusive Pride and has been an active contributor in organising of Khumbulani Pride. Sivu was named Brand South Africa’s 40 under 40 for their gender activism work and was also named as one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans to look out for, for their contribution to Civil Society.
Mr. Oluoch and Siwisa join PAI at a time when the organisation is growing, with the aim to meet its strategic goals for the next three years. They both bring with them a wealth of experience, strength and a vision towards making PAI a regional body that benefits all her members.

We are very proud to have Tony and Sivu joining our team. Please join us in welcoming them! They can be reached at Anthony.Oluoch@panafricailga.org and Sivu.Siwisa@panafricailga.org.

For more enquiries contact Richard Lusimbo-Co-Chair PAI Board at rlusimbo@gmail.com, +27795558219 or Monica Tabengwa-Executive Director at monica@panafricailga.org +27767958245

Uganda: Investigate Break-ins at Groups’ Offices

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ILGA and Pan Africa ILGA are among the 31 human rights groups demanding investigations on a series of attacks on Ugandan non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders

(Kampala) – The Uganda Police Force (UPF) should promptly, thoroughly, and transparently investigate a series of attacks on Ugandan non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders and hold suspects accountable, 31 Ugandan and international human rights groups said today in a letter to the police inspector general. The severity of one of the recent attacks, in which intruders beat a security guard to death, demonstrates the urgency of addressing these attacks, for which no-one has been held responsible.

Between April and May 2016, intruders broke into the offices of at least three groups in Kampala – the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), and the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda). The break-ins followed more than two dozen previous break-ins at the offices of non-governmental groups since 2012. Although the police inspector general formed a committee of eight officers to investigate the break-ins in July 2014, no one has yet been brought to justice.

“The lack of accountability for attacks on non-governmental organizations has apparently led to an atmosphere in which attackers felt free to kill a security guard, in order to accomplish their aims,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Uganda Police Force needs to live up to its obligation to actively investigate these cases and bring those responsible to justice.”

At HRAPF, the assailants beat to death security guard Emmanuel Arituha, ransacked the offices of the director and deputy director, and stole documents and a television screen. They did not, however, take computers, laptops, or other electronic equipment. Colleagues remembered Arituha as “always smiling and very committed to his work.” At the time he was killed, he had been helping to pay his two younger siblings’ school fees.

At FAWE, intruders stole a server, laptop and desktop computers, cameras, and projectors. At HRNJ-Uganda, camera footage shows a visitor apparently providing a dish of food containing sedatives to the security guards, allowing four intruders to search the premises after the guards fell asleep. More than two weeks after the most recent attack, police have not made any arrests.

Organizations whose offices were broken into in 2014 included Human Rights Network-UgandaAnti-Corruption Coalition UgandaUganda Land AllianceAction Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS, and Lira NGO Forum. The groups are all known for their work on sensitive subjects – including corruption, land rights, freedom of expression, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people – and for criticizing government policies.

In a further attack on the premises of Uganda Land Alliance in July 2015, another security guard, Richard Oketch, was beaten to death. No one has been arrested for his murder.

Each incident has been reported to the police in a timely fashion, but police efforts to investigate and collect evidence such as witness statements, DNA, and CCTV footage have been limited and lacked follow-up. In some cases, the police did not respond to the complaints or, more commonly, provided no substantive update on the status of investigations.

“Human rights defenders already work in a challenging and often repressive environment in Uganda,” said Adrian Jjuuko, executive director of HRAPF. “We’re determined to continue our work on behalf of the Ugandan people, but we need the police to stop disregarding these threats to our property, our physical security, and even our lives.”

As a state party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Ugandan government should ensure the right to life and the right to liberty and security for all persons, as well as the right to freedom of association, both of which are severely impeded when organizations cannot conduct their work in a safe and secure environment. As set out in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, countries have a duty to protect human rights defenders “against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure, or any other arbitrary action” as a consequence of their work to uphold human rights.

The organizations that sent the letter to the police inspector general called on him to clarify the steps the police have taken to investigate the most recent break-ins, as well as the previous wave of break-ins in 2014. The letter also asked the inspector general to outline how the police will protect human rights defenders, including HRAPF and others whose offices have been attacked, from further acts of violence.

“The lack of accountability and persistent impunity for attacks on human rights defenders and their offices sends a message that authorities condone and tolerate such attacks,” said Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes at Amnesty International. “Ending impunity is essential to protecting and ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.”

Signatories to the letter include:

Amnesty International, Kenya
Centre for Human Rights – University of Pretoria, South Africa
Chapter Four Uganda, Uganda
COC-Netherlands, Netherlands
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India
Community Development and Child Welfare Initiatives (CODI) Uganda, Uganda
EHAHRDP/Defend Defenders, Uganda
FOKUS – Forum for Women and Development, Norway
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Uganda
Freedom House, United States
FRI – The Norwegian Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Norway
Health GAP, United States
Human Dignity Trust, United Kingdom
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, Uganda
Human Rights Network for Journalists, Uganda
Human Rights Network, Uganda
Human Rights Watch, United States
Icebreakers, Uganda
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), Switzerland
Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), Uganda
Legal Aid Service Providers Network-Laspnet, Uganda
NGO Forum, Uganda
Pan Africa ILGA, South Africa
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, United States
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Uganda
The African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV), Uganda
The National Coalition on HRDs, Uganda
Uganda Land Alliance, Uganda
Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO), Uganda
UHAI-EASHRI, Kenya
Unwanted Witness, Uganda

Link to ILGA statement http://ilga.org/uganda-investigate-break-ins-at-groups-offices/

PAI Extends Their Thanks To Conference Participants

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The Pan Africa ILGA Board and staff would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation and thanks to all those who participated in the 3rd PAI Regional Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 14-18, 2016.

The event brought together 180 participants from 34 countries in Africa. It attracted a diverse range of expert presentations including by key political figures, judges, human rights commissioners, human rights defenders and activists, donors and other regional and international allies.

The conference was about being part of a community; of belonging to a community of LGBTI citizens who came together to claim their rightful place in the continent; their right to belong in Africa and in their respective countries and communities, as FULL and EQUAL citizens.

The theme of the conference was ‘African Bodies: Breaking Ground Building Bridges”: As we celebrated our diversity and unity we also remembered those who laid the foundations, those who took the initial steps, and whose lives and livelihoods have been lost and/or destroyed, whose bodies have suffered indignity for our cause, and honoured those whose bodies continue to be the battleground of the struggle against inequality, discrimination, segregation and human rights violations!

Because We are proudly Africans, We refuse to be silenced or intimidated by bigotry, hate or intolerance, We shall continue to fight for social justice, equality, inclusion and recognition.

The 4th PAI Regional Conference will be held in 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana, we will be looking forward to more collaboration and community with you! Thank you one, thank you all!!

PLEASE VIEW OUR THANKYOU VIDEO HERE

PAI Satement on SOGI resolution

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Today the UNHRC took yet another positive move towards LGBT equality by adopting a resolution on ‘Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’. This long anticipated move comes after two other resolutions adopted by the Council in 2011 and 2014 respectively. The resolution, an obvious game changer, establishes the mandate of an Independent Expert on SOGI who is tasked with, inter alia; assessing implementation of existing international human rights law, identifying best practices and gaps, raising awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, engaging in dialogue and consultation with States and other stakeholders, and facilitating provision of advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building and cooperation to help address violence and discrimination on these grounds.

[For full statement of SOGI resolution please follow the link…]

PAI Satement on SOGI resolution

Statement: UN human rights body establishes an Independent Expert

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For Immediate Release

United Nations Makes History on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 

UN human rights body establishes an Independent Expert

 

(Geneva, June 30, 2016)

In a defining vote, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on “Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity”, to mandate the appointment of an Independent Expert on the subject. It is a historic victory for the human rights of all persons who are at risk of discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, 28 human rights groups said today. This resolution builds upon two previous resolutions, adopted by the Council in 2011 and 2014.

 

The Core Group of seven Latin American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Uruguay – and 41 additional countries jointly presented the text.

 

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 23 in favor, 18 against and 6 abstentions.

 

“This is truly momentous,” said Micah Grzywnowicz from the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights, RFSL. “This is our opportunity to bring international attention to specific violations and challenges faced by transgender and gender non-conforming persons in all regions. It’s time for international community to take responsibility to ensure that persons at risk of violence and discrimination because of gender identity are not left behind.”

 

“It’s an historic resolution,” added Josefina Valencia from International LGBTI Association for Latin America and the Caribbean, ILGA LAC. “Latin America has played a very important role to build a common course for the advancement of our human rights. We are proud of the international solidarity and the commitment shown by States for equality.”

 

The positive vote responds to a joint campaign of a record 628 nongovernmental organizations from 151 countries calling on the Council to adopt the resolution and create the SOGI Independent Expert.

 

”It is important to note that around 70% of the organizations are from the global south,” said Yahia Zaidi of MantiQitna Network. “This is a powerful cross regional message of strength to the United Nations to protect the rights of LGBTI persons. The Independent Expert will be a focal point for all violations based on SOGI and hence help grassroots organizations to better utilize the otherwise complex labyrinth of the UN system.”

 

The Expert will be tasked with assessing implementation of existing international human rights law, identifying best practices and gaps, raising awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, engaging in dialogue and consultation with States and other stakeholders, and facilitating provision of advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building and cooperation to help address violence and discrimination on these grounds.

 

“To have an Independent Expert can be a ‘game-changer’ in counter-acting violence which fuels the HIV epidemic in key populations and more specifically in LGBT communities,” said Alain Kra of Espace Confiance.

 

“It will ease the work of all human rights defenders and it is essential for our governments and people to have the knowledge on how to protect LGBT communities from any violence and discrimination they face,” added Joleen Mataele of the Tonga Leiti’s Association.

 

Although a number of hostile amendments seeking to introduce notions of cultural relativism were adopted into the text by vote, the core of the resolution affirming the universal nature of international human rights law stood firm.

 

We hope that this resolution will mark a turning point in the struggle to create a world free from violence and discrimination for all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

 

Results of the vote

 

Voting in favor of the resolution

Albania, Belgium, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK, Venezuela, Viet Nam

 

Voting against the resolution

Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Togo, United Arab Emirates

 

Abstaining on the resolution

Botswana, Ghana, India, Namibia, Philippines, South Africa

 

Press contacts

  1. Access Chapter
  2. AIDES France
  3. Amnesty International
  4. ARC International / Arvind Narrain / arvind@arc-international.net / +41 78 632 3605 (Switzerland)
  5. Clóset de Sor Juana AC
  6. Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
  7. Espacio de Mujeres Lesbianas Salvadoreñas por la Diversidad (ESMULES)
  8. Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland / Alexander Hammelburg / +31622698765 / ahammelburg@coc.nl(Netherlands)
  9. Foundation for SOGI Rights and Justice (FORSOGI), Thailand
  10. FRI, the Norwegian Organisation for Sexual and Gender Diversity
  11. GALANG Philippines
  12. Human Rights Law Centre
  13. Human Rights Watch / John Fisher / fisherj@hrw.org / +41 79 508 3968 (Switzerland)
  14. Iranti-org / Jabu Periera / +27 82 957 5349 (South Africa)
  15. International Commission of Jurists
  16. ILGA LAC, Asociación Internacional de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales, Trans e Intersexuales para América Latina y el Caribe. / Paul Caballero paulcaballero@ilga.org / +54 91 123 974 909 (Argentina)
  17. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) / André du Plessis / andre@ilga.org / +41 79 678 1229 (Switzerland)
  18. Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO)
  19. LGBT Denmark – the National Organization for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered People
  20. MantiQitna Network / Yahia Zaidi /
  21. OutRight Action International / Jessica Stern / +1 917 355 3262 (USA)
  22. Pacific Sexual Diversity Network
  23. Pan Africa ILGA / Monica Tabengwa / monica@panafricailga.org / +27 76 795 8245 (Botswana/South Africa)
  24. Proyecto Arcoiris, colectivo anticapitalista e independiente / +53 5384 9062 / proyectoarcoiriscuba@gmail.com (Cuba)
  25. Samoa Faafafine Association
  26. Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights (RFSL) – Micah Grzywnowicz / micah.grzywnowicz@rfsl.se / +46 735 41 96 44 (Sweden)
  27. TLF Share Collective – Philippines
  28. Tonga Leitis Association