African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders – Public statement of warning!

African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders Warn Public against Participation in Campaigns Concerning LGBTI Issues in Africa Led by Peter Tatchell and Outrage!

PUBLIC STATEMENT OF WARNING

In order to prevent Peter Tatchell and Outrage! from causing further
damage through their unfounded campaigns and press releases, we issue
this public statement of warning.

As Human Rights Defenders from across Africa, we strongly discourage
the public from taking part in any LGBTI campaigns or calls to action
concerning Africa that are led by Peter Tatchell or Outrage!

Collaboration across continents is both important and valuable. We
are willing to work with those who respect our advice and expertise
regarding our continent.

However, Outrage! has been acting in contempt and disregard of the
wishes and lives of African Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and
Intersex (LGBTI) Human Rights Defenders. We have made every attempt
to address this matter with Outrage!, personally, and they have
refused to listen. We now take this matter to the public, requesting
you not to take part in any of Peter Tatchell or Outrage!’s campaigns
regarding Africa, as they are not factually-based and are harmful to
African activists.

Through the following actions, Outrage! has repeatedly disrespected
the lives, damaged the struggle, and endangered the safety of African
Human Rights Defenders:

1. Outrage!’s press releases contain information that is not
factual. They do not verify information before including it in their
press releases. When they are corrected by local activists, they
refuse to print retractions or to make any attempt to stop the
damaging effects of their press releases.

2. Outrage! repeatedly quotes people out of context and uses these
statements to further their own agenda rather than presenting the
truth.

3. Outrage! does not consult the relevant local activists before
embarking on campaigns that directly affect us and are destructive to
our work. They disregard collaborative efforts by African LGBTI Human
Rights Defenders and international Human Rights organisations, and
come up with unilateral strategies that work against the progress
being achieved by the rest of the Human Rights actors. We are tired
of having to constantly expend energy working to undo irreparable
damage that Outrage! has caused.

4. Outrage! exaggerates the violations our governments commit.
When they quote African Human Rights Defenders in the very same press
releases where they are exaggerating claims against our governments,
we are held responsible for their reckless outbursts. As African
activists, we are then left to face the wrath of our communities for
statements we never made.

5. Outrage! does not listen to, value, or heed the advice of local
genuine activists. They mix our words with the opinions of
uninformed, naïve, or crook individuals. They take whatever
information is available, regardless of the source, and twist it to
gain more publicity. Certainly, Outrage! is not acting on our behalf.

Therefore, we urge the public not to participate in any LGBTI
campaigns regarding Africa that are led or influenced by Peter
Tatchell or Outrage!, as they repeatedly put our lives in danger
through their reckless, non-factual, and inflammatory press releases,
letters, and calls to action.

As African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders, we are working toward the
recognition of our rights by our governments in Africa. We do not
appreciate or accept the efforts of Western-based individuals or
organisations who try to make our work for liberation into an
ego-boosting publicity campaign for themselves. We condemn Peter
Tatchell and Outrage! for their irresponsible journalism and a
deplorable lack of respect for the very people they claim they are
defending.

We will continue to work with our governments on the acknowledgement
and protection of our basic human rights as African lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender, and intersex people. Furthermore, we will
proudly defend our right as Africans to praise our governments when
they protect and acknowledge us.

OUR MESSAGE

United as African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders, we send out the
following messages:

To Peter Tatchell and Outrage!:

Stay out of African LGBTI issues. You have proven that you have no
respect for conveying the truth with regards to Africa or consulting
African LGBTI leaders before carrying out campaigns that have severe
consequences in our countries. You have betrayed our trust over and
over again.

This is neo-colonialism and it has no place in our struggle or in Africa.

To the Press:

Responsible journalism is one of the keys to social transformation and
the protection of human rights. Verify information about Africa
before publishing it. Consult the leaders of the LGBTI Movement in
Africa about strategy and do not just spread any misinformation you
find on the internet.

Abide by the rules of good journalism with regard to Africa, as you
would be expected to do with regard to your own countries.

To the Public:

International collaboration can give strength to already vibrant LGBTI
campaigns in Africa. Consult from reliable sources that investigate
cases before they report, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty
International (AI), and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission (IGLHRC). Peter Tatchell and Outrage! are not reliable
sources on LGBTI issues in Africa and information from them should not
be trusted or used as a basis for action.

PRESENT SITUATION

We fear that Peter Tatchell’s sudden call for a campaign to pressure
the Nigerian government regarding the proposed same-sex marriage
prohibition might backfire and cause the oppressive homophobic bill’s
passage.

After being warned that the advice of Nigerian activists is to refrain
from putting attention on the dormant bill, Outrage! looked for some
individual in Nigeria to support them in the course they had already
chosen to take. To serve this purpose, Leo Igwe’s comments were
quoted in George Broadhead’s recent press release and are being taken
out of context. While Leo is a very courageous friend and ally of the
movement, Outrage! should have contacted and requested advice on
strategy from the LGBTI Human Rights Defenders who led the original
campaign against the bill from Nigeria.

Over the past ten months, Human Rights Defenders from the region and
elsewhere have exercised a lot of formal and informal pressure on
Nigerian law-makers to make sure the bill did not get passed into law.
Until Outrage!’s action was issued, the bill was dead. By calling on
people to begin a campaign at this stage, interest could be awakened
in the bill. Outrage! is acting irresponsibly and in direct
contradiction to the advice of leaders of the Nigerian LGBTI movement.

BACKGROUND

Just five months ago, a similar situation was evolving in Uganda.
Outrage! had included unverified information in a press release on
Uganda and was refusing to listen to the concerns of Ugandan LGBT
Human Rights Defenders. After many conversations about the importance
of accuracy, fact-checking, and consultation with genuine African
activists, Ugandan Human Rights Defender Juliet Victor Mukasa, finally
wrote directly to Peter Tatchell:

“You have included unverified information in your press releases
and those allegations against the government are going to come back to
us. You will sit safely in London while our activists in Uganda pay
the price for your deeds . . . We have many people in the West who
support our struggle, but they would not do anything to jeopardize our
safety. . . . You have shown a blatant disregard for the reputations
and safety of legitimate activists in Uganda . . . I know what effect
your press releases have on my country. Please put a stop to all your
press releases regarding my country. It must stop.”

Immediately following the receipt of this message, Outrage! issued yet
another press release on Uganda, and helped organise a demonstration
against the Ugandan High Commission in London.

These examples from Nigeria and Uganda are just two out of many
instances of breaches of trust and disregard for the work, wisdom, and
lives of African Human Rights Defenders. We have repeatedly asked
Outrage! to retract their calls to action and to restrain from any
further action regarding LGBTI issues in Africa. Outrage! has
refused. As we would do in the case of any person or organisation
acting out of such blatant disrespect for the truth and for the people
they claim to defend, we urge the public not to participate in LGBTI
campaigns led by Peter Tatchell or Outrage! which pertain to our
continent, Africa.

Signed:

Dorothy Aken’Ova
INCRESE, 1E,Bosso Road
G. P. O. 3684, Minna
Niger State Nigeria
increse@lycos.com, darlyndotty@yahoo.co.uk
08065488417, 08034500714

Juliet Victor Mukasa
Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
julie.mukasa@gmail.com
+27 79 194 9561

Fikile Vilakazi
Director of the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
Johannesburg, South Africa

Wendy Landau
Human Rights Researcher, Behind the Mask (BtM)
Johannesburg, South Africa

Kasha N. Jacqueline
Chairperson of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG)
jnkasha@gmail.com
+256 772 463161

David Kato
Integrity Uganda

Samuel Ganafa
Chairperson of Spectrum Uganda

Danilo da Silva
LGBTI Mozambique

Judith Ngunjiri
Minority Women in Action, Kenya

Emmanuel Kamau
Chairperson of ISHTAR Kenya

Peter Njoroge
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)

Joel Gustave Nana
Human Rights Researcher, Alternatives-Cameroon

Ayesha Imam
Human Rights Defender
Nigeria/Senegal

Sokari Ekine
Human Rights Defender, Black Looks
sokari@blacklooks.org

Carlos Idibouo
Consellor at TAGL
Advisor at AfriCar Project
idibouoc@yahoo.fr
famillegay2006@yahoo.fr
+1 647 261 3214/ +1 416 922 4226

Mac Darling Cobbinah
Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana

Kanuma Georges
Leader of LGBTI group ARDHO, Burundi

Linda Baumann
The Rainbow Project (TRP)
Namibia

Thuli Madi
Director, Behind the Mask
Johannesburg, South Africa

Oludare Odumuye
Alliance Rights, Nigeria

For more information about the current situation in Nigeria, please
contact INCRESE.

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