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The Unlawful Arrest of 21 Human Rights Defenders in Ghana

During a training held by Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA) partner organizations in the city of Ho in the Volta region of Ghana, 21 people, including 16 females and 5 males, were arrested by the Police. They have been charged with the offence of Unlawful Assembly under section 202 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

“This charge is without any substance and I call that the 21 people, who have been unlawfully detained, be released immediately,” demands Davis Mac-Iyalla, Executive Director of IDNOWA.

The purpose of the assembly was to educate the participants about the human rights of LGBTIQ people and ways of reconciliation between LGBTIQ and religious perspectives. The training material that was confiscated by the police proves the purely educational character of the seminar: Books and flyers titled Hate Crime; The LGBTQ+ Muslim; Gender Acronyms; Coming Out; My Child, My Love Always; All About Trans; All About Intersex; Key Watch and One Love Sisters Ghana.

The action of the police was based on the false accusation that there were LGBT people out to recruit others. This idea is erroneous because lesbian, gay and bisexual people are born with their sexual orientation in the same way as heterosexuals are. As they are a minority, their human rights need to be protected against prejudices of the majority population as the incarceration by the police has shown once more.

“All participants are known to IDNOWA. Their training is legal and without any intention to commit a crime. The meeting was justified because of the human rights of the freedom of assembly and the freedom of religion,” declares Mac-Iyalla on behalf of IDNOWA. “We appeal to the government, religious leaders and civil society to use their influence to protect the human rights of the 21 people who are still be held without any due reason.”

On Pentecost Sunday (23rd of May 2021) a delegation of IDNOWA visited the 21 who are incarcerated in four different places. “We found them in a terrible state,”, explains Mac-Iyalla, “Some of them urgently need their daily medication against HIV. The genitalia of an intersex person were examined in a humiliating way. One of the innocent members has had a nervous breakdown because of their treatment. The sanitary situation is unbearable in some of the prisons they have been sent to. During our visit, we prayed together and assured them of our support.”

24th May, 2021

Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa

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International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT)

IDNOWA in recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, reaffirms our position that the human rights of all persons are universal and indivisible.

All persons are born free and equal with the same inalienable rights, and we condemn any threats to those rights on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all.

It deeply saddens us that nearly all countries in West Africa have direct or indirect laws criminalizing homosexuality or LGBT identity.

Many of those working to restrict the dignity and human rights of LGBT people are religious and faith leaders.  We ask, what has happened to the teaching of ‘Love Your Neighbour as yourself’?

IDNOWA is particularly concerned about the recent media storm toward the LGBTIQ community and the hostility to this community.

On this, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, and on all days, we stand together as the LGBT community to declare

  • that human rights are universal
  • that everyone is entitled to the same respect
  • that everyone is entitled to the same freedoms
  • that everyone is entitled to the same protections.

And IDNOWA will continue to support fight for and educate until this is accepted by all and for all.

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LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF

FOR IDNOWA ON IDAHOT 2021

I’ve been to West Africa four times, once each to Nigeria and Togo, as well as twice to Ghana. Before I travelled to Calabar in 1978 a former colleague, who had spent two years in Lagos while her husband was working there, told me that she’d seen no sign of anyone who was gay. On my return she asked me ‘Well, did you?’. I replied that I hadn’t met anyone who described themselves as ‘gay’ but I’d met a lot of men who enjoyed having sex with men.

I had a similar experience on each of my three other trips, yet I’ve heard many people claim that same-sex attraction is imported from ‘the west’ and is not indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa. Even if the language may often be culturally specific, the behaviour is certainly not.

When I was in Togo for an interfaith LGBT conference in 2007 with participants from at least seven West African countries, we were told that there are words describing same-sex behaviour in every local language pre-dating the colonial era.

I’m currently reading a recent novel by a Ghanaian writer in which she sensitively depicts same sex attraction between two African men in the Gold Coast (Ghana) nearly 300 years ago.

In our current situation it’s very important that those of us from elsewhere do not impose our culture on other countries, because that’s what was done by the British and others when they outlawed same-sex behaviour. Human sexuality is extraordinarily and wonderfully diverse and will defeat any attempt to police it with labels. None of us is exactly the same, thank God!

What is vital is to give each other wholehearted support to explore our sexuality, to discover who we are, to become who we might be, without harming someone else.

To do that we must stand together against all those who are so frightened of being different that they discriminate against and persecute people who are not ‘like them’. These people also need to be liberated from the fear of becoming distinctively themselves.

Stephen Coles

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Response to the Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding comments by the Primate of Nigeria

Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa welcomes the Archbishop of Canterbury statement calling the Nigerian Anglican Primate to order over his used of unchristian and uncharitable words to describe homosexual people. (See below)

The statements made by the Nigeria primate, Most Reverend Henry C Ndukuba, is totally unacceptable and should be denounced by all bishops of the Anglican communion. The statement goes on to use phrases like, “[homosexuality] is likened to a Yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough.” It also states that “secular governments are adopting aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture.” (sic)

Davis Mac-Iyalla executive director of IDNOWA affirms once again, our goal to live our lives as LGBTQI persons in moral integrity without being threatened by criminal law or by the blackmailing that results from it; without being forced to hide our true selves and our love from our families and neighbours; without being driven into heterosexual marriages to conceal our sexual identity; without being excluded from education and from health services, without being condemned in sermons; without being excluded from the parishes we belong to.

Davis Mac-Iyalla
Executive Director

______

Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding comments by the Primate of Nigeria

05/03/2021

The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Reverend Henry C Ndukuba, issued a statement on Friday 26 February 2021 which referred to “the deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality”. The statement goes on to use phrases like, “[homosexuality] is likened to a Yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough”. It also states that “secular governments are adopting aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture.” (sic)

I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable.It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks.

I have written privately to His Grace The Archbishop to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion (expressed most clearly, albeit in unsuitable language for today, in paragraphs c and d of resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998). This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words. It affirmed that “all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.”

The Anglican Communion continues to seek to walk together amidst much difference and through many struggles. I urge all Christians to join me in continuing prayer for the people and churches of Nigeria as they face economic hardship, terrorist attacks, religious-based violence and insecurity.

The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, that God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope.

+Justin Cantuar:

The article can be found on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Website

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/news-and-statements/statement-archbishop-canterbury-regarding-comments-primate-nigeria?fbclid=IwAR0eb07vj8by3JbqQCAQvAQzc_x-rX-lX0EDSWKKkRcYEeeI2ksylfmpK8k

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Open Letter from the Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa to the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, Chair of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference

                                                                                                            Accra, March 01, 2021

Dear Most Rev. Philip Naameh,

We would like to thank you for your response to the statement that Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA) published on February 20, 2021. We really appreciate that you no longer speak of a crusade against LGBTQI people (and their organisations) who have established an office from which they can work for the recognition of human rights for LGBTQI people in Ghana. You made an important contribution to calm down the heated atmosphere.

We welcome that you have emphasized in radio interviews, that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex people must be treated with respect and must not be discriminated against in the spheres of work and housing. This means a lot to us as our LGBTQI community is often confronted with exactly these problems.

However, we think that the Roman Catholic Church could do more, especially when it comes to providing health care and education. We face time and time again, pupils or those that are ill being refused help when he or she is identified or labelled as a gay, lesbian or trans person. You said that “[p]eople with homosexual inclinations are subjects of the Church’s pastoral care as anybody else is in the Church and outside of it.” We strongly welcome this. It would be a major improvement for our community members if Catholic hospitals and schools declared explicitly not to exclude LGBTQI people from their services.

Please, allow us to quote in addition the “Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia” (Nr. 250) to strengthen this point and to expand it to families: “The Church makes her own the attitude of the Lord Jesus, who offers his boundless love to each person without exception. During the Synod, we discussed the situation of families whose members include persons who experience same-sex attraction, a situation not easy either for parents or for children. We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence. Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance.”

We would like to highlight the many words and deeds of Pope Francis by which he personally has given pastoral support to families with lesbian and gay children as well as to gay, lesbian and trans persons themselves. We think that his approach to meet personally with members of our community, to listen to our stories and to comfort us should be considered as a role model for every pastor of the Catholic Church, including in Ghana.

Having said this, we must admit that we do hold some dissenting views on the morality or immorality of the sexual expression of love between people of the same gender.

  • We believe that our sexual orientations and gender identities belong to God’s creation and are part of his plan for the salvation of humankind. They are not against nature; not a lifestyle that is learned somehow, but part of our very nature as humans created in the image of God. Our sexual and gender identity is formed during our upbringing from a combination of nature and nurture. The balance between the two is impossible to disentangle and varies between persons.
  • Our homosexual attraction is not a choice, but an integral part of the person we are. Of course, it is possible for us to control our sexual behaviour willingly, but if this expectation is stretched to our whole lives, as the Catholic norm for gays and lesbians does, we can only reject this norm as destructive to our psycho-social health and well-being. By saying that we must not express our identity sexually one is rendering it impossible for us to be fully human and is depriving us of the opportunity to grow in love and meaningful partnerships.
  • Based on the exegetical research, that has been published globally, we doubt that Biblical verses can be used to condemn all kinds of homosexual acts. The Bible does not condemn same-sex sexuality in stable, faithful, and loving relationships. Only those cases are rejected in which violence or exploitation destroy the ethical quality of such relationships. What has been presented in the doctrine of the Catholic Church as Biblical evidence for the condemnation of homosexuality succumbs to exegetical scrutiny, especially if the different times and cultural circumstances are considered carefully.
  • If we look at the Gospel, we find that Jesus’ message is welcoming to everybody. Jesus Christ has not made procreation a condition for becoming his disciple but has welcomed every believer and those who do the will of God as being a part of his family. This is our vision for the Church, too.
  • In the past decades, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has claimed the authority to decide about the morality or immorality of homosexual acts. However, more and more reports, such as those from an insider of the CDF, Krzysztof Charamsa, or from journalists, like Frédéric Martel, have given evidence that the staff of the CDF are strongly biased when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. Forgive us, if we say publicly that we do not consider this curial body as a binding authority in matters of homosexuality as long as this bias prevails and prevents the CDF from taking scientific and academic research into account appropriately.

Our goal is to live our lives as LGBTQI persons in moral integrity without being threatened by criminal law or by the blackmailing that results from it; without being forced to hide our true selves and our love from our families and neighbours; without being driven into heterosexual marriages to conceal our sexual identity; without being excluded from education and from health services, without being condemned in sermons; without being excluded from the parishes we belong to.

It would mean everything to us, if the Catholic Church in Ghana could become a partner who accompanies and support us on this path towards true moral integrity. Therefore, we would be delighted for the opportunity to meet with you in person and to share with you, in the spirit of dialogue, our experiences as LGBTQI people in Ghana. To start a conversation on how pastoral care for families with LGBTQI members could be put into place and become meaningful.

With kind regards,

Davis Mac Iyalla,

Executive Director of Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa

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A Response from The Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA) to The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) Declaration on Recent LGBTQI Activities in Ghana

The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has published a declaration on recent LGBTQI activities in Ghana which comes as an intervention into the national conversation about the establishment of an LGBTI office in Accra.

“At the beginning of lent, the GCBC should come up with a message of reflection and repentance for the people of faith. Instead, it instigates violence and hate crimes against LGBTI people by using words such as ‘crusade’ against LGBTI in an affirmative way,” says Davis Mac-Iyalla, Executive Director of Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa.

Davis continues by asking: “Our local bishops have distorted the powerful message of mercy and pastoral care for LGBTI people and their families that Pope Francis promotes. How do they relate to the Pope who most recently has spoken out in favour of state laws for civil unions of same-sex couples and the right for LGBTI people to have a family?”

The arguments made by the GCBC are outdated and badly informed. When the bishops refer to biblical perspectives on homosexuality, they present interpretations that are outdated according to the theological standards of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2019, the Biblical Pontifical Commission has published a study on biblical anthropology in which it has expressed the conclusion that the story about Sodom and Gomorra in Genesis chapter 19 does not deal with homosexual people, but with sexual violence exercised by the (mostly) heterosexual men living in Sodom breaking the customary law of hospitality.

The GCBC translates the Greek word ‘arsenokoitai’ in 1 Corinthian 6:9f. and 1 Timothy 1:10 into two different meanings; ‘sodomites’ and ‘sexual perverts’ where in fact the literal translation is ‘male bedders’. From the cultural context of Greco-Roman antiquity, it is evident, that the verses refer to exploitative sexual relationships between men, but not to durable ones based on love and mutual care. This shows not only how careless the GCBC translations are, but also that the exact meaning of the Greek word is less than clear for us today.

“In the discussions of the Bible’s teaching, we often miss the references in the Gospels of its warm message of inclusion and of welcoming. Why is it not possible for the Catholic bishops to apply this to LGBTI people?” asks Davis Mac-Iyalla.

When the bishops refer to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, they base it on a heteronormative interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis chapter 1 and 2. They connect these chapters with the idea of an order of nature with the ‘rich symbolism and meaning’ of sexual activity in heterosexual marriage. This theological anthropology ignores that sexual orientation is considered a variety within the norm according to medical and psychological academic standards. While referring to the allegedly ‘right reason’ they side-line scientific knowledge with detrimental effects for lesbian and gay people.

The title of the GCBC declaration makes the reader expect that it is dealing with “LGBTQI” activities in Ghana. However, the theological issues of gender identity of trans people and sex characteristics of intersex people are not addressed at all which again shows a lack of intellectual diligence by the authors of this document.

IDNOWA welcomes the declaration that the GCBC sees LGBTI people as humans with human rights, even though this should go without saying (See article 1 and 2 of UN declaration of Human rights). These human rights include, among others, the right to physical integrity; equality and non-discrimination education in school and the freedom of religion/beliefs and the right to have a family. By rejecting attempts of LGBTI organisations to have a common office from where they can pursue the goal to realize their human rights, the GCBC practically denies the human rights of LGBTI people. The GCBC falsely reduces the plethora of human rights to the one right to marry a same-sex partner and ignores all others. Human rights are indivisible and indeed article 30 of the UN declaration of human rights, says that no group should act in a way that would destroy the rights and freedoms of others.

“The declaration of the GCBC lacks the empathy and understanding for the situation of the lives of LGBTI people in Ghana,” Says Mac-Iyalla. “The IDNOWA would like to start a personal dialogue with Ghanaian Catholic Church leaders to help provide a better starting point for the pastoral work of the church and to help the GCBC make their support of the human rights of LGBTI people more effective for the future.”

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A Response to the remarks made by Nigerian Catholic Priest Fr. Kelvin Ugwu On Why Homosexuals are allowed to marry in Catholic Church

Recently Fr. Kelvin Ugwu, a Nigerian Catholic Priest spoke out about his views of Gay marriage .

It was a very confusing article from the go with Fr Kelvin saying that being homosexual is not normal and that such people need help.  Later in the article he says he does not think homosexuals should be condemn but then spends the rest of the article doing just that.

Fr. Kelvin says he has done extensive research on the topic of homosexuality but he only ever quotes from articles and research from the early 70’s and 80’s  which have all been superseded by much more modern thinking and research about the LGBT community. However, Fr. Kelvin completely disregards this more modern reports. He goes on to say that Pope Francis recent remarks on gay marriage and LGBT community in the church have been totally misquoted and misunderstood.

Fr Kelvin begins the article saying he feels forced to accept homosexual people but totally disagree with the notion that it is a natural behaviour for humans to be homosexual. He says that homosexuals like to justify their behaviour by comparing homosexual behaviour in animals. He does not believe this can be be used as an argument in favour of such behaviour in humans as normal.

Then again, I say, nor should the absence of homosexual animal behaviour be used as an argument that homosexuality among humans is ‘against nature’. Platon and Christian authors from antiquity have made such arguments before that form the basis of the ‘against nature’ argument.

Interestingly, Fr Kelvin does not speak in terms of ‘against nature’, but writes, ‘not normal’. The word normal in fact has 2 meanings: the average and then also the normative. Fr. Kelvin does not make it clear about which meaning he is referring to.

Fr Kelvin says he ‘stumbled’ on a manual of mental disorders published in 1968 by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) which says that homosexuality is a mental disorder. He says that gay activists ‘threatened APA with strong words’ to make them remove this which they did in 1973.

Fr Kelvin is using a myth. No member was ever forced to vote for the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder; they responded to a change of social reality which made them understand that homosexuals are mentally completely functioning. Is Fr. Kelvin insinuating that lesbian and gays are mentally ill? In Germany, they compared this kind of collective understanding with that of the hunting of witches, which was also based on irrational myths and beliefs.

Fr. Kelvin talks about actions that former US President Obama did to Uganda over their anti-gay laws.  He never elaborates what actions he is talking about nor do I remember what he did, but I do know that Obama acted against the death penalty for same-sex sexual acts. Fr Kelvin does not mention this grave punishment at all. Why is he silent about this? He, instead, uses simple anti-colonial rhetoric by connecting anti-homosexual statements found on Facebook with access to visas.

Fr Kelvin seems to believe that Pope Francis has been misquoted. He wants to make us believe that the Pope is just a nice guy to everybody; that the Pope has no clear understanding of what he says. He does not take into consideration that Francis did really want to say what he said. By this, Fr. Kelvin shows no respect to the Pope.

In addition, as a Catholic priest, Fr. Kelvin says nothing on what he, himself does to welcome LGBT people in his own parish. What kind of pastoral care does he offer to them? How does he follow the numerous examples that Pope Francis has given?

A recent article in Independent Catholic News (Matthew Charlesworth SJ- https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/40759) talks about a new documentary by Evgeny Afineevsky entitled ‘Francesco’ in which the Pope is reported to say, ‘Homosexual people have a right to be in a family … They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or made miserable over it.’

This is obviously a continuity of the opinion that the pope holds on civil unions because he already supported them when he was archbishop in Buenos Aires. He considers same-sex couples in the framework of the family and accepts that they need to have rights in order to live undisturbed.

Fr. Kelvin, on the other hand, does not come close to understanding this perspective at all.  He does not use the framework of human rights when it comes to LGBT people.

But I do agree on one thing that Fr. Kelvin says at the end of his report, indeed do ‘pray for your Christian Leaders’ and do ‘prayer for the Pope.’ However, I suspect I might well be praying for a very different outcome.

Davis Mac-Iyalla
October 2020

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The Misuse of freedom of speech – A Nation’s tragedy

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

― United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

There is no doubt that the Freedom of Speech is one of the greatest human rights any person can have and yet it is also one of the greatest to be trampled on in the world today.

One of the biggest misconceptions nowadays is that our freedom of speech not only can be exercised but should be exercised at any cost.  The problem with the world today is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it no matter what that might do to the feelings of others.  Freedom of speech in 2020 has been abused and misused mainly by the media.

The most attentive and influential use of freedom of speech is through the elements of the media. This spans from public speaking to news reports, to social media. In the world today, these mediums have become discriminative, unpleasant and in many cases, just downright barbarous.

We have seen the social media space fill up with malicious content, trolling and cyber bullying. It seems that the anonymity that social media can provide leads to many users to believe they can say whatever they want while hiding behind their online profile. But even the print media is adorned with writeups and commentaries that contest people’s fundamental human rights.

In Ghana or Nigeria, we see the majority use media as a tool for driving injustice and infringing on constitutional human rights. When it comes to expressing opinions, people do not have a problem doing so either by phone, email, social media or even in person. However, the global nature of online media means the abuse is immediate and far reaching. 

The ease of accessibility to social media means that anyone can express their opinions to the downfallof another person simply because they do not like the person or what the person may represent.

Some 3.5 billion people in the world today connect via social media.  That is 45% of the world population. Social media can bring people closer together, form links across social and economic divide; bring minority groups togetherfor positive reinforcement; but too often it is used to judge others, to belittle minorities, groups and individuals. Social media is becoming a forum where judging others is the norm and there is an increase in people crossing the boundaries of constitutional rights.

Freedom of speech is scaling new heights everyday but with disregard of the consequences of misusing it; consequences that include suicide and social suicide. People become so engulfed in their virtual lives that that they often fail to realise that the quest for social media relevance may be tied to another’s downfall.

Celebrities, politicians, authors, and the general public, are exposed to cruel and perverted individuals who believe that they can say whatever they want, whenever they want to say it no matter what the consequences may be. Various mainstream issues such as gay rights, feminism, equal pay or gender equality are being fuelled by people who are ignorant to culture, because they feel the need to express what they believe despite being politically incorrect.

Yes, freedom of speech dies give us the right to express how we feel, but it does not give us the right to degrade, humiliate, curse or abuse people.

Social media has changed the way we live our lives. From the way we get our news to the way we interact with our loved ones. Social media is everywhere. It’s unavoidable, it’s powerful, and it’s here to stay, but this form of freedom of speech should not be misused, abused, and thrown around, like trash.

People, we need to think before speaking; before typing.  We need to show empathy, see past what we disagree with and not hide behind our online profile.

Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing; a great human right, but it is also dangerous and we need to use it with responsibility.

Davis Mac-Iyalla

Executive Director Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa

Fellow, Outright International Advocacy UN Religious Program 2020

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World Congress of Families to Boost Export of LGBTIQ-phobia in West Africa

The World Congress of Families (WCF), designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, announced last week that a regional conference would be held on October 31 and November 1 in Accra, Ghana, marking an expansion of its right-wing fundamentalist agenda in West Africa.

 Formed in Russia in 1997 by American right-wing thinkers and Russian counterparts, the World Congress of Families is one of the major driving forces of the global promotion of an anti-choice and anti-LGBTIQ agenda. Using pseudo-human rights language about the rights of the family, the child, and freedom of religion, WCF promotes conservative ideologies centered around concepts of “natural law” and “natural family” through laws criminalizing LGBTIQ people and sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular abortion, both at a national and international level.

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Executive Director, Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, comments:

“It is extremely concerning to see the group expand its interest in West-Africa; its presence will undoubtedly increase social stigma and discrimination against LGBTIQ people, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. Same-sex relations are still criminalized in the majority of the region, violence, and harassment of LGBTIQ people are ripe, so LGBTIQ people are already living in hiding and in fear for their lives. We fear that the congress will come with an even harsher agenda, and ample resources for increasing hate against LGBTIQ people in West Africa.”

WCF is well-connected, well-resourced and influential, and has, to a greater or lesser degree, influenced the passing of barbaric laws such as the anti-homosexuality act in Uganda, the same-sex marriage prohibition act in Nigeria, and the notorious so-called gay-propaganda law in Russia.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

This is not the first instance of American Evangelicals and organizations exporting homophobia and transphobia around the world. Their agenda stands in stark contrast to basic human rights standards, instead openly inciting attacks on human dignity, and promoting a long out-dated world of religious domination and stark gender inequalities. We have to work across civil society and state boundaries to support activists in West Africa and ensure that an already hostile environment for LGBTIQ people and women does not become even more so.

The congress brings together participants from right-wing civil society organizations, such as Citizen Go and Family Watch International, religious groups, as well as elected officials, religious leaders, scholars and others. It provides a platform for strategizing on further promotion of the fundamentalist agenda.

Taken from

https://www.curvemag.com/News/World-Congress-of-Families-to-Boost-Export-of-LGBTIQ-phobia-in-West-Africa/

Press

STATEMENT ISSUED ON MONDAY OCTOBER 29, 2018 ON THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF A NIGERIAN YOUTH RABIU RABINA BAMANGA GRUESOMELY MURDERED IN THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, ABUJA NIGERIA

The entire Nigerians

It is with sadness in our hearts that we bring to your notice the untimely death of a law abiding NigeriancitizenRABIU RABINA BAMANGA and Peer Educator at TIP for Human Rights in the FCT Abuja Nigeria who was brutally killed and buried in a shallow grave with some body parts exposed and covered with mattress at Ruga, Federal Capital Territory Abuja Nigeria.

We condemn the killing of Rabiu a law abiding citizen of Nigeria and human rights activist who until this death was contributing to ending HIV infection and supporting attainment of human rights through a non-governmental organisation. Until the issuing of this statement, we have not received any information with regards to the reason behind this gruesome murder of a law abiding citizen, whose right to life has been so annoyingly snuffed out. This is one death too many to bear! Recently we issued a statement condemning the incessant and constant harassment of innocent Nigerian youths.  The above named was contributing to securing the rights of all Nigerians and was brutally murdered and buried in a space that should be referred as safe space. This death is totallyunacceptable and unjustifiable!

This is an outrage to Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa, a regional network of activists, faith based individuals, advocates and individual activists working for inclusion of diverse persons to create a world governed by respect and dignity.

We seek a day where all persons irrespective of religious beliefs become great allies in the quest for a safe and free society for all humans. It is therefore a slap in our faces to receive information on the cutting down of a harmless Nigerian youth who was providing service to make Nigeria a better place!

We strongly believe that humans are born free and equal and should enjoy their full human rights and achieve their full potentials in a safe and loving society irrespective of background and belief.

As a West African network, we demand that the perpetrators be identified and brought to justice and receive punishment commensurate with the crime they have committed against another Nigerian.THE KILLER(S) OF RABIURABINA BAMANGA MUST BE FOUND AND JUSTICE MUST BE SERVED!

In solidarity,

Davis Mac-Iyalla,

Executive Director

Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNoWA)