On Thursday, April 3, 2014 Tagbo Wasiu Oluwafemi of WISH2.0 presented an open letter to Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo during a manifestation in Brussel at the European-African summit. The letter is signed by important LGBT activists as Jide Macauley (House of Rainbow Int.), Bisi Alimi (BA consulting), Rashidi Willliams (Queer Alliance Nigeria). Also two trade union leaders (ABVV-FGTB chairman Rudy De Leeuw, ACLVB–CGSLB chairman Jan Vercamst) and spokespersons of important LGBT organisations as Jeroen Borghs (LGBT umbrella organisation Çavaria) – Erwin Carlier (Rainbow House, Brussels) and Chille Deman (Belgian Pride) endorsed this call to the Prime Minister.
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His excellency Mr. E.Di Rupo,
WISH 2.0. as an organization-Working In Solidarity with Homosexuals (LGBT) and from all our African LGBT human rights activists in Belgium writes to you the Prime Minister of Belgium, with our heartfelt concerns and grievances over the recent anti homosexuality laws currently going on in Africa, most especially in Nigeria and Uganda with extension to other countries like Kenya, Zambia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and finally with the whole continent falling a backlash.
On this day of action we seek your intervention for Nigeria, which further criminalizes the identity, not even the act of sodomy, for up-to 14 years imprisonment and under the 12 states that practices Shari’a law could be stone to death if convicted of homosexuality and as well in Uganda the country that now sentence homosexuals to life imprisonment.
Many African countries are now treading on a terrace of inhumanity towards its LGBT citizens. In Nigeria, since the passage of the law, many citizens have been arraigned by the state actors. Many are remanded in court, with the current situation in Bauchi, Ibadan and Abuja Nigeria which we are very sure that you are fully aware of, stands as an example for other countries considering the same repression. In Uganda it was reported that a Belgian guy was arrested alongside with a Kenyan guy alleged of homosexuality which shows categorically that even
foreigners, expatriates, tourists traveling or working in this countries that are LGBT, are not even safe under this draconian law, so practically it means that no one is excluded or above the law in those countries regardless of their position.
In reference to your speech on Friday, 27th September 2013, at the UN General assembly you said: “freedom also means that heterosexual and homosexual couples have the right to walk hand in hand down the streets. I am proud that my country Belgium guarantees these fundamental rights. I am proud that my country acts as a driving force to propagate these freedoms around the world.”
We as LGBT human rights activists from Nigeria and our allies are concerned that if the European Union as a body and Belgium as a country that respects human rights refuses to show concerns towards shunning this barbaric acts of human degradation by calling many Africa leaders and their cohorts to order, there will be increase in death toll of many LGBT persons and activists and Europe should be
expecting the flood gate of many African LGBT filing in for asylum which could also gives many heterosexuals the opportunity to claim asylum on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
We are seeking your support for a smart intervention of the international bodies such as the European Union, the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and its International Committee, the Council of Europe and UN treaty bodies to mount pressure on these countries thathas failed to respect the rights of LGBT people.
Human Rights is meant to be universal and egalitarian which means everyone is entitled to enjoy human rights equally irrespective of who you are. We are not of the opinion to write a four paged letter addressed to you so we decided to KISS you (Keep It Short and Simple). With your concerns and enthusiasm towards LGBT persons globally to make the world a better place for us all to live, we implore you to act on this injustice and to work relentlessly towards an exemplary relationship with all of the aforementioned diplomatic representatives present in Brussels, Belgium towards the creation and stimulation of dialogue, understanding and learning opportunities for both sides. We thus ask you to actively involve LGBT leadership from the Diaspora in dialogues and exchanges with those countries and we assure you our commitment to invent and realize together a path of successful dialogues.
Our expectations are for the Belgium government to divert the aid towards supporting our fellow LGBT members and human rights activists in those Africa countries you have bilateral relationships with and to help many whose life(s) are in danger in this time since the countries leaders has failed to protect its minorities from the mighty predators of the majority. This can be through a direct support for the organizations still active on the field as well as through individual protection and the creation of safe harbours for LGBT from those countries through NGO’s and authorities active in the region.We also plead for the creation of a budget to enhance the cultural diplomacy and with this the LGBT understanding in the diplomatic representations and through cultural exchanges in the countries most in need of enlightening.
We Love Nigeria, We Love Uganda, We love the Ubuntu spirit of the continent and we are sure, with your weight in the balance, we can be loved one day by our own people.
With kind regards,
This letter is signed and supported by:
Tagbo Wasiu Oluwafemi – Nnamani Ikechukwu – Efe Brown – Koffi Zotoglo Jide Macauley (House of Rainbow Int.), Bisi Alimi (BA consulting), Rashidi Willliams (Queer Alliance Nigeria) – Joseph Sewedo Akoro (JSA consulting group) – Alberic Akiteretse (Why Me) – Rudy De Leeuw (Nationaal voorzitter ABVV) -Jan Vercamst (Nationaal voorzitter ACLVB) – Jeroen Borghs (LHBT-koepelorganisatie çavaria) – Erwin Carlier (Regenbooghuis, Brussel) -Chille Deman (Belgian Pride) – Marcia Poelman (Het Roze Huis, Antwerpen) – Dr. Thomas Hendriks (Postdoctoral Research Fellow Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa / Faculty of Social Sciences / KU Leuven) – Wim Peumans (IMMRC – Anthropology Faculty of Social Sciences) – Dirk Maes (Voorzitter Rainbow Cops LGBT Police) – Yvan Brys (Mikpunt) – Luc Van Belle (BHS40+ ) – Bruno Olislaeger (BGS) – G. Thomas Hoemig (English-speaking Gay Group) – Peter Mertens (Nationaal voorzitter PVDA) – Björn Pius (Outrage!) Jan Beddeleem (WISH2.0)