LGBTQI Asylum Seekers and Refugees – At Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the honor to work hand in hand with some of the most courageous people on the Planet-
THANK YOU – Let us talk gratitude! Thank you for your ongoing support of African Human Rights Coalition:
At African HRC we provide humanitarian services, resources, ad hoc refugee case management, advocacy, expert testimony, country conditions asylum reports, awareness, speaking, mentoring, consulting and coalition building.
Our Country Conditions Reports resulted in preventing deportations, winning asylum cases, and witnessing the release of LGBTQI Africans from detention, across the country. We served as experts, provided reports and testimony for over a dozen LGBTQI clients seeking asylum from Cameroon, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
As an example we highlight one such story, with name change to protect privacy: After enduring years of torment, ostracization, beatings, and sexual assault in the form of so called “corrective rape” by a known perpetrator, propped up by her family, to “cure” Marilee of the “curse of her same-sex attraction,” the 21 year old Ethiopian lesbian with only a 4th grade education, found her way to Brazil. Her extraordinary journey led to declaring herself for asylum at a Southern Border of the United State, a harrowing and hellish 7 months later. As a mom of a daughter Marilee’s age, I was awestruck by her courage, resilience and resourcefulness. It was her desperation for freedom from torture and her quest to live a life of equality in a country where she would be treated with dignity and receive an education, that helmed her survival though this impossible journey. After almost a year in detention, Marilee, helped by attorneys and experts, won her asylum! Marilee is not the only LGBTQI person to make their way to that border.
We continue to work tirelessly, in the USA, UK and other countries, to ensure the Judges are fully apprised of the insidious dangers should they fail to grant asylum. As the pipeline closes in on refugees, desperation for routes out of criminalizing countries persist and perilous gambles do not deter. We pride ourselves on our 100% grant rate in Courts where the average grant rate is less than 8%.
O-Blog-Dee-O-Blog-Da has been a labor of love and a commitment I endure with complex emotion in its mix of LGBTQI equality advocacy, themed to end global criminalization of LGBTQI people and promote equality, plus news, politics and more…
Poetry from Hell: In this series I post the poetic words of a refugee in Kakuma Camp, Kenya, in the context of my own activity in the moment of posting. This serves as reminder to me and hopefully anyone of conscience about the larger context within which such suffering resides. I am reminded, if not for these human bodies that ground us to the earth, we would all be one! Read HERE.
Seven Masks One story: LGBTQI Refugee Hardship Commemorated by a Week of Masks – these heart wrenching stories were well read as the Blog Platform heads toward one million views. On similar note, my reporting on LGBTQI refugees at Kakuma Camp, Kenya was honored with the 2019 NLGJA award for Blogging Excellence. HERE.
Supporting Journalists through interviews, sourcing and commentary: Here are some of the reads reflecting our involvement: Longreads: “I can See You Are Gay; I will Kill You,” By Annie Hylton and Malia Politzer, July 18, 2019, Read Here. Caught Between Borders – Closed borders and closed minds are trapping African LGBTI asylum seekers in hostile countries. Read Here.
The Film UNSETTLED with all its awards brought visibility to my work and some of what we do at African HRC. Sitting on panels and accepting the OUTFEST Grand Juried Best Documentary Award on behalf of filmmaker Tom Shepard and the Team Unsettled was a highlight this past year and brought 4 years of being followed and filmed to a worthy conclusion. The film will continue to be screened at festivals, educational impact events such as Universities, and on PBS next Spring. So many people reached out to volunteer and offers of more are pouring in, with each screening. Read More.
This Year I wrote an Affidavit for Johannesburg Pride’s Amicus Brief in a case where right wing extremists as part of their defense to the banning of the old offensive Apartheid Flag, sought to ban the Rainbow Flag. We won the day! Read the Affidavit HERE.
Discussions with Ugandan Parliamentarians and other African Politicians – Hon. Nabillah Ssempala and Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine)
There is so much more…… and to this end please feel free to explore all the reflections at www.oblogdee.blog and www.AfricanHRC.org
Please help us to keep the momentum going and to stretch beyond in the coming year. We have so much work to do globally to decriminalize sexuality and to continue to work hand in hand with our LGBTQI family in Africa…. Lest we forget that we all have a right in this one lifetime to happiness and at the heart of that is our freedom to love safely and without shame…
Human Rights Advocacy and Mediation
African Human Rights Coalition
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