Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Belgium's asylum crisis: an overview

protesting against expulsions of asylum seekersImage via Wikipedia
Source: Gazet Van Antwerpen

By John Dewit

[Google translation]

Fedasil, the service receives asylum seekers, put an hour on strike 18 November to protest against the staffing problems at the service. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers became known later this year over 27,000 will come true. The Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs in October devoted a major debate on the asylum crisis and the Senate did week 25 November. State Secretary for Migration Melchior Wathelet (CDH) is also preparing a reform of the asylum law, but as long as the government's pending cases, is difficult. A state of affairs.

Fedasil, the service responsible for the reception of asylum seekers, today put an hour on strike because the staff contracts expire on December 31, the staff do not know if their job is extended. The department also wants more staff to cope because the number of applicants ever increasing. The service wants all day Monday ek down tools. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers swings through the roof. The situation is so dramatic?


Greece adopts Presidential Decree to deal with asylum backlog

Coat of arms of Greece since 7 June 1975.Image via Wikipedia  
Source: Ecre

A Presidential Decree establishing the transitional procedure to be followed for all pending asylum applications in Greece has been published on 22 November in Greece’s Official Journal. The backlog of 7,000 pending first instance claims and 47,000 pending second instance claims will be dealt with through this procedure.

These pending asylum claims will be examined by 14 regional police departments situated in geographic districts with a high concentration of asylum seekers. Normal procedures will last up to six months and accelerated procedures will be limited to three months. The decree sets out also the creation of independent special 3-person appeal committees with no participation of police officers.

Also a draft of the new asylum law establishing procedures for the examination of new asylum applications will be presented to the Parliament in the near future. The text of the new asylum law is available for submissions until the 26 November 2010. This draft law is part of Greece’s National Action Plan on Asylum Reform and Migration Management.

At the First European Asylum Support Office Board Meeting, held in Malta on 25-26 November, Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that one of the priorities should be supporting Greece in implementing its National Action Plan on Asylum Reform and Migration Management.
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Monday, 29 November 2010

New information on refugee flows into Europe

Source: Ecre

[EU agency] Frontex has released an updated map [PDF] of the situation at the external borders of the EU, taking into account the number of detections of illegal-border crossing and refusals of entry from January to September 2010.

Compared to the same period in 2009, 71% less migrants have attempted to cross irregularly through the EU maritime borders. It is mainly noticeable in the Canary Islands (-99%), Malta (-98%), Greece (-76%) and Italy (-65%). The map also shows an increase of 369% of migrants crossing the Greek-Turkish land border. This map doesn’t take into account the ongoing RABIT operation at the Greek-Turkish border. Among the people identified by Frontex as trying to access the European territory in an irregular manner, there are nationals from refugee-producing countries and territories, such as Afghanis, Palestinians and Somalis. Information is not provided on whether they had access to an asylum procedure.

Frontex should be complemented in 2011 by a European border surveillance system, EUROSUR, as presented in the Commission’s Communication on the EU Internal Security Strategy. It is announced that the EU will launch in 2011 a pilot project at its southern and south-western border “exploring synergies on risk analysis and surveillance data concerning different types of threats, such as drugs and people smuggling”.
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In Scotland, a new support service for LGBT asylum seekers

The UNITY Centre has decided to launch a unique new confidential service aimed at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and  Transgender asylum seekers.

Due to be officially launched on Tuesday 7 December, at the Unity Centre, the  new service will be a confidential telephone support service for all asylum in Scotland who face difficulties or need support due to issues related  to their sexuality.

LGBT asylum seekers are often isolated from the religious and ethnic support networks that other asylum seekers normally depend upon in the UK. Often religious and ethnic groups in the UK hold the same homophobic prejudices that exist in the country of origin that the LGBT asylum seeker is fleeing from. At the same time ignorance and prejudice about LGBT issues are prevalent in the UKBA and throughout the asylum process.

At UNITY we've had a number of people coming to us looking for help with asylum claims based on their sexuality. We've also had a number of gay asylum seekers looking for support services they can access here in Scotland. Sometimes it has not been possible to help people in the centre in a truly confidential manner due to the many different people in the centre at the same time.

We are therefore very pleased to announce that with the new confidential phone line we will be able to strengthen the support we provide to LGBT asylum seekers by offering a confidential telephone support line for a few hours at least once a week.

People phoning the phone line will be able to speak to someone of their own gender if they prefer and they will receive support and adivce on where they can access information and support regarding their asylum claim and their lives in the UK. We hope to offer a truly comprehensive support service.

This new service will be unique in the UK as it will be the first regular support line dedicated to supporting LGBT asylum seekers.

If you are interested in being involved in the LGBT phone line please email the unity centre at info@unitycentreglasgow.org with your details and we will reply to you.

Initially the phone line will start from Tuesday 7 December and will be open every Tuesday from 6.30 - 10.30pm. We hope that you will pass on the phone number to anyone who could be affected. Thank you.

Also we would recommend that anyone interested in volunteering with the phone line should also attend this one day training course run by GRAMNET and the Equality Network:
'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Asylum Seekers & Refugees in Scotland'
Thurs 9th December, 9.30 am - 3.30 pm
Wolfson Medical School Building,
University of Glasgow
For more information or to book a place email:
timc@equality-network.org Tel 07969350825
The UNITY Centre
30 Ibrox Street
G51 1AQ

0141 427 7992

The UNITY Centre is run entirely by volunteers and funded completely by donations from our supporters.
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Effects of legal aid changes on UK asylum + immigration

Scale of justice, Enhanced version of an image...Image via Wikipedia
Source: Migrant Rights Network

By Indre

On 15 November 2010 Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke unveiled a programme of wide-ranging reform to legal aid and civil litigation costs as part of new Government plans to reduce public funding costs. It claims that the aim of such reform is to support a simpler, better and more affordable system of justice. The 224-pages long Document however reveals shocking level of cuts in public funding for the provision of legal advice, which simply means that access to justice at proportionate cost will be denied to many.

The Paper states that “legal aid will be retained for asylum cases, for debt and housing matters where someone’s home is at immediate risk, and for mental health cases.” Some of the outrageous propositions however include the removal of all Legal Help and Controlled Legal Representation for immigration matters, other than for persons seeking release from detention or proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeal Commission (SIAC).

These changes will eliminate the following from Legal Aid:
1. Grant/variation of leave to remain;
2. Entry clearance applications;
3. European applications;
4. Citizenship and travel documents; and
5. Applications under concessions or policy outside of the Immigration Rules.

Video: Gay students and immigration rights in Australia

By William

A video asking why gay overseas students and immigrants to Australia do not have the same partnership rights as heterosexuals. Australia has nothing to lose and much to gain both domestically and internationally by bringing equality across the board.

Only the same sex partners of Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizens may be granted an interdependent visa.

Another visa category where a prospective immigrant who is not an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen can bring his or her same sex partner is a 457 sponsorship visa.

The final one is someone applying for a general skilled migrant visa as of 2007.

All I am asking is that the partners of immigrants have the same chances across the board regardless of sexuality. Australia has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A new toolkit to empower LGBT global south activists

Signatories and opposing parties to the UN dec...Image via Wikipedia
Source: African Activist

A new toolkit is available to empower activists to use the Yogyakarta Principles to advance international human rights standards on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. According to the press release from Yogyakarta Principles in Action:
Activists in regions around the world celebrated today the release of a new tool for LGBTI advocacy: the Activist's Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles.

The Yogyakarta Principles are a set of principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. They were developed in response to well documented patterns of abuse directed toward persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Today’s publication - the Activist’s Guide - is a toolkit, which provides an introduction to the Yogyakarta Principles, exploring how they can enhance the work of activists in advancing rights for LGBTI people around the globe. It presents several creative examples of ways in which LGBTI activists have already used the Yogyakarta Principles to make significant gains, and suggests strategies for further engagement with the Principles...

As the Activist’s Guide highlights, the Yogyakarta Principles have also been applied in South Africa to underline the need for police training and hate crimes protection in the face of continued violence, killings and so-called “curative” rape of lesbians. Recently, a group of gay and lesbian Kenyans, working together with the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, produced a publication highlighting the application of the Yogyakarta Principles in Kenyan society.
Activists at the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) recently adapted the Yogyakarta Principles for use in Kenya.
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Video: CNN exposes the treatment of Britain's 'failed' asylum seekers

Source: CNN

By Peter Wilkinson

Failed asylum seekers must cope with intolerance, hatred and violence on the streets of Britain but they must also survive without state benefits, shelter or the right to work. Here, four people describe how they live on £10 food vouchers from the British Red Cross. All names have been changed to protect their identities and ensure their safety.

Birmingham, England (CNN) -- High up in a tower block in a grim suburb of Birmingham, central England, Shoorai feels cold and vulnerable in the storage cupboard where she sleeps and worries how she will survive the approaching winter.

The cupboard is located outside the lifts on a public corridor, which reeks of cannabis smoke. Intimidating youths lurk in its doorways. Shoorai is scared here, but she says her lonely existence here is still preferable to being sent home.

The 38-year-old sleeps here because her claim for asylum in Britain has been rejected, meaning she gets no benefits or shelter. She says she cannot -- or will not -- return to Zimbabwe, from where she fled in 2006, because "the situation was even worse back home. People were beaten ... people were killed and they were tortured."

State-sponsored homophobia: Experiences from Nigeria

Source: 'Struggle for equality: Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights in Africa', The Heinrich Boell Foundation

By Dorothy Aken’Ova

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Nigeria like in many other African countries face legal challenges on grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Nigeria. In the 12 states of the Muslim North of the country that have adopted Sharia law; same-sex sexual activity is punishable by death or by up to 14 years imprisonment throughout the country.

The lack of tolerance is also evident in the statements of political and religious leaders that denounce the rights of LGBTI people.

In February 2009, the then Foreign minister, Ojo Maduekwe has gone even so far to claim that LGBTI people do not exist in the country. At the Universal Periodic Review of Nigeria, a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years, the minister stated:
“Mr. President, […] the United Kingdom wanted to know the position of Nigerian Government on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.  As we have indicated in our National Report, we have no record of any group of Nigerians, who have come together under the umbrella of “Lesbian, Gay and Transgender” group, let alone to start talking of their rights. Of course, as citizens, all Nigerians have their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. During our National Consultative Forum, we went out of our way to look for the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender group, but we could not come across Nigerians with such sexuality.  If they are an amorphous group, then the question of violence against them does not arise, let alone negotiating special rights for them. With regard to same-sex marriage, this is illegal in Nigeria, and until the law is changed, it remains so. The British in their wisdom bestowed the law against same-sex marriage to us, for which we are grateful.”
This is despite the fact that more than ten non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have openly declared the protection of LGBTI rights as one of their focus areas of work. These include Alliance Rights Nigeria, the International Centre for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights (INCRESE), the Centre for Youth Policy Research and Advocacy (CYPRAD) and the Support Project in Nigeria (SPIN), The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIER), Queer Alliance and Global Rights Nigeria.

Each time I hear any of these claims I recall a conversation between two Nigerian young women who met at a conference in the United States:

"The first time I was raped": one gay Iranian's ordeal

Source: The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

Matin Yar, a young homosexual man from Iran, describes the torture and rape he was subjected to in Iranian prison. A fear of execution on account of his homosexuality led Matin to flee Iran shortly after his release from prison.

Witness Statement of gay Iranian Matin Yar

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Action alert: Nigerian gay man Uche Nanbuife faces deportation from Britain

Source: Uche Nanbuife Campaign

Update, April 8: On 6 April 2011 Uche has received removal directions for a second time, having had his Fresh Claim refused. The judge refuses to accept his sexuality. This is despite the fact that his ex-boyfriend and other close friends are prepared to testify on his behalf that they know him to be gay. He is due to be removed on a chartered flight to Lagos on Wednesday 20 April 2011.

Since his lawyer, Hani Zubeidi, managed to get a judicial review in November 2010, Uche has had a difficult few months. He remains in detention, having had a bail application refused by a judge that has found unfavourably in a number of cases of gay defendants. The one thing he needs to prove, it seems that he can’t whilst in detention.

Although he has a conviction, he had served his time before being detained and has now been in detention for 18 months. The Guardian has recently reported on the indefinite detention and presumption of deportation of foreign nationals with a criminal conviction.

Charity, Medical Justice is sending a doctor to meet Uche and produce a report, based on a physical assessment of his scars. This will support his descriptions of events in Nigeria and we hope enable him to make a fresh claim for asylum. But he needs time for this to be arranged and the report to be written

As before, Uche just wants his voice to be heard. He is gay, all of his friends know him to be gay. Yet, he has been forced to live in an environment where he is afraid to admit his homosexuality and has no freedom. He would like the government to remember that he is a human being and deserves a second chance to live his life in peace, without threat of torture or worse in Nigeria, which is the reality he faces if deported (publicity on the internet following the publication of this appeal demonstrates violent homophobic attitudes in Nigeria).

Update, December 6: PinkPaper: Last Minute hope for asylum seeker

Update, December 5: Hani Zubeidi of Fadiga and Co today won an injunction stopping tomorrow morning's removal of Uche to Lagos.

Zubeidi is also the solicitor who won a reprieve for another gay Nigerian, Hope Nwachukwu.

On Friday, his supporters filed a fresh claim based on new witness statements and other evidence about his sexuality and the threats he would face in Nigeria.

Supporters have also been in touch with Uche's MP, Harriet Harman. Her office claims to have been in touch with Uche, however he has not received any correspondence from them.


Uche Nnabuife is a 33-year old Christian Nigerian national who has been detained at Haslar Immigration and Removal Centre, since November 2009. He has received removal directions for 6 December on flight KL1000 at 6:35am from Heathrow Terminal 4, continuing on KL587 at 11:20am to Lagos. He is gay and is afraid of being killed if he returns to Nigeria.

In 1990 he was discovered with another man and was strung up, badly beaten, burnt and abused leading to several weeks in hospital. He saved money to leave the country, working as a male prostitute, where the property that he was living with was attacked. Fearing for his life, Uche arrived in the UK in 2005 and his application for leave to remain has been rejected

About Uche

Uche is a quiet, peace-loving Christian man, who enjoys spending time with his friends and playing pool. He would like the opportunity to live a normal life and to continue training as a plumber.

After the attack in his village and subsequent hospitalisation, his family disowned him. He managed to persuade his uncle that he was not gay and went to live with him in Lagos to work in his shop. He worked here for a period of about 5 years and got to know other men in the area. Here he met his first boyfriend. They were very careful, fearing they would be attacked.

His uncle began to insist that he should get married and brought a girl and her mother to tea to meet him. On informing his uncle that he could not marry this girl, his uncle’s attitude towards him changed and he stated that what the villagers had said about Uche must be true. Fearing violent retribution and/ or public disgrace, Uche moved out.

On the streets and desperate, he was advised to use an agent to leave the country. His boyfriend introduced to a man, who gave him work, as a male prostitute in order to raise enough money to leave the country. This took him 9 years and during this time the house that they were living and working in was attacked.

He arrived in the UK in 2005 and feels safe here, having become friends with other Nigerians who are gay. He is amazed how open people are able to be about their sexuality. He kept himself to himself fearing that if he contacted any authorities, he would end up back in Nigeria. He found out about asylum in 2009 and made an application, mentioning the fact that he is gay for the first time.

He says:
“I did not know about asylum or about groups such as the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, who I now speak to for support. If I had known, I would have contacted the authorities. I would like to help to advise other gay men in my position and to encourage them to come out as soon as possible. It has damaged my case, because I felt too embarrassed to discuss my sexuality.”
The Home Office do not believe that he is gay, because he did not reveal all of the traumatic details of his story straight away and because he has served time for a criminal conviction since being in the UK. Whilst living in London, he shared a house and when the police visited they found Uche in the house as well as some cannabis. He was convicted of possession of cannabis with intention to supply. He has served his time and recognises that he made some bad choices in his friends. He wants to put this behind him, to work hard and to use his experience to help others in this position.

LGBT Asylum News Editor Paul Canning writes:
"Again we have a gay Nigerian faced with the Home Office making every effort to send him back to a potentially terrible fate. The system seems to be about removal numbers, not upholding the Refugee Convention."

“I am concerned that they have simply changed the line since the July Supreme Court decision from ‘go home and be discreet’ to ‘prove that you are gay’ in order to refuse asylum and to carry on removing gay people."

“The Stonewall report showed high levels of homophobia and ignorance in UK Border Agency and yet again we have a case showing that the government cannot rely on the Supreme Court decision to say they've met their promise that no-one like Uche would be removed to danger.”
Uche had sexual relationships before being detained and his ex-boyfriend and two of his gay Nigerian friends submitted evidence to his appeal. His boyfriend has supplied photographs of them together. Because his ex-boyfriend was in France at the time of the appeal and had made an error in his letter, the court rejected all correspondence from any of his friends. They changed the location of the hearing at the last minute, which meant that 2 friends arrived in the wrong location and that he was not well supported.

If Uche is deported to Nigeria, he will be in grave danger. He is certain that his family and friends in Nigeria know that he is gay and Nigerian people hold strong views on gay people, believing them to be possessed by evil spirits.
Act Now

1) Contact the Home Secretary
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St London SW1 4DF

Fax: 020 7035 4745
(00 44 20 7035 4745 if you are faxing from outside UK)


2) Write to Peter Hartman, CEO of KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines

Peter Hartman, CEO
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
P.O. Box 7700
1117 ZL Schiphol
The Netherlands/ KLM

Communications Fax: +31 (0)20 648 80 92
Customer Service Email: http://bit.ly/gWr6Rk

Treatment of gay people in Nigeria

A 2009 Human Rights Report Nigeria: Treatment of homosexuals by society and government authorities; recourse and protection available to homosexuals who have been subject to ill-treatment (2008 - August 2009) published by the UN Council of Human Rights states:

“Sources describe violence aimed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as regular (AI 2009) and "frequent" (HRW 26 Jan. 2009). EDGE, a Boston-based news site for the gay community which published an article about Nigerian homosexuals describes Nigeria as being noteworthy in the "virulence and violence [directed towards] gay men [and] lesbians" (EDGE 17 Apr. 2008). Activists say homosexuals in Nigeria sometimes face violence from their own family members (BBC 11 Mar. 2009; Edge 17 Apr. 2008).

EDGE reports that a man in Lagos was attacked and killed by a gang claiming "they were 'cleansing' Lagos of homosexuals" (EDGE 17 Apr. 2008).

As a signatory of the ECHR, the United Kingdom would not be fulfilling several of its international legal obligations if Uche is deported.
"To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is."
Lord Hope, 7th July, 2010, reading the Supreme Court ruling on 'HT' (Cameroon) and 'J' (Iran).

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In Uganda, not just gays oppose 'kill the gays' bill

Source: Behind The Mask

By Simangele Mzizi

“Turning a blind eye when people are targeted because of their real or alleged sexual orientation, makes the authorities complicit in the abuse”, so said Chris Dolan, Director of the Refugee Law Project, a member of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law.This after gay rights groups in Uganda expressed concern about the deafening silence of political leaders while human rights violations against sexual minorities continue unabated in the heart of Yoweri Museveni’s country.

While the coalition applauded the interim High Court order issued on 1 November 2010 against the publishers of the Rolling Stone and have called for the protection of human rights for all, it said that it is unfortunate that the order, which will remain in place until the hearing on 23 November 2010 , was only issued the day after the second series of the paper containing pictures and personal details of alleged homosexuals was published on 31 October 2010.

Coalition Coordinator, Adrian Jjuuko, however said that the court order is a “positive step towards protecting all Ugandans from potential gender and sexuality based discrimination, violence and abuse which is contrary to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the various regional and international codes and standards to which Uganda is a state party.”

New publication: Struggle for equality: Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights in Africa

Source: The Heinrich Boell Foundation


On October 04 2010, a pink closet set upon the University of Cape Town (UCT) campus as part of the ‘Pink Week’ awareness campaign was torched after being on display for just a few hours. The closet was intended to highlight prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and encourage discourse on issues affecting the LGBTI community. Its malicious destruction spotlighted this prejudice and stood as a strong example of the pervasiveness of homophobic attitudes across the social spectrum of South African society. While the continuous violence against black lesbians certainly is the most brutal manifestation of hate crimes against LGBTI people, the notion that they are confined to the streets of townships is simply not true.

The incident also serves as a reminder that despite having successfully fought for one of the most advanced gay-right laws in the world the struggle for equality of LGBTI people in South Africa is, like in the rest of the African continent and indeed the world, an ongoing one.

Homosexuality is outlawed in 38 African countries. In some countries offenders can be punished with death and in many more with harsh jail sentences. Recent developments have attracted international attention and once more underlined the precarious human rights situation of LGBTI people on the continent. In Uganda, an
Anti-Homosexuality Bill was tabled in parliament, proposing to broaden the criminalisation of homosexuality and to introduce the death penalty under certain circumstances, including for people who have previous convictions of the “offence of homosexuality” or have same sex relations while being HIV-positive. In Malawi, a gay couple was sentenced to 14 years hard labour and only freed after international condemnation.
Fuelled by homophobic utterances of political and religious leaders, opposition to homosexuality is often embedded in tradition, religion and culture. Ignoring factual history, non-normative sexual orientations and gender identities are dismissed on the basis that they are Western imports and “un-African”.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation has aimed to empower LGBTI organisations to participate in public life and express the concerns of LGBTI people in the region for many years. It is hoped that this issue of Perspectives will help LGBTI activism in its struggle towards changing Africa into a continent where LGBTI people enjoy the full range of human rights.

What is clear from the articles gathered here is that despite the myriad of challenges and hostile environment there is an ongoing engagement and growing movement towards equality for LGBTI people throughout the continent. So while there may be a long journey ahead, we remain optimistic.
Struggle for equality: Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights in Africa
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The UK's shameful record on refugee resettlement

Refugee camp for Rwandans located in what is n...Image via Wikipedia
Source: Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Earlier this week the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg stated that Europe should accept more refugees  in need of safe resettlement.

Nine out of ten refugees stranded 

The UNHCR estimates that annual resettlement needs amount to some 800,000 refugees.   European Governments between them have offered to accommodate only 80, 000 annually. This leaves 90% of the world’s 800,000 refugees stranded in uncertain circumstances with no prospect of resettlement for 10 years.

The UK – a poor track record

The UK deals with refugee resettlement primarily through  its Gateway Protection Programme. In summary under this programme the UNHCR refers cases to the UK Border Agency who then go on to asses these cases individually.

Cases are examined with a view to establishing whether those referred are refugees,  people at risk of human rights breaches and whether they are unable to sustain long-term security and have a lack of local integration in the country where they have initially sought refuge.

The UK accepts only 2% of the total.  Its current resettlement quota for the year is a mere 750.  Figures are not presently available to verify whether was met last year. Past figures however rather embarrassingly show that the UK has consistently resettled fewer refugees that its quota would allow for. The figures are: 150 (2004), 70 (2005), 355 (2006), 465 (2007), 640 (2008)

A worldwide comparison

The Commissioner highlights the disparity between the numbers of refugees received by America and Europe.  Europe accommodates only 14% of the world’s refugees. In contrast the USA accommodates seven times more refugees than European countries and some African states host more refugees than all of Europe put together. In fact  80% of the world’s refugees are today living in developing countries.

The future

The Commission recently proposed the establishment of a Joint EU Resettlement Programme, in which member states would receive financial assistance for resettling refugees. Until something this is introduced the Commissioner is asking European states to support the UNHCR in overcoming the crisis facing refugees by increasing their annual quotas. With the Coalition attempting to cultivate an  image for its immigration policy as one  tough on control but human rights friendly in spirit, one might hope for an improvement in the UK in this thoroughly unsatisfactory state of affairs.
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Sweden threatens Iraqi lesbian couple with removal

Update, December 6: Melanie Nathan reports that she received a note from their advocate, Amine Kakabaveh. a Swedish MP:
I have a Good News , the girls have got a decision from the European court that Sweden should not deport them.  I’m very happy for that. I will thank you and everyone who has been engaged in their case. Unfortunately there are several other  cases of women who are victims for the same inhuman politician decisions. Please, be in touch when you have time. Thank you once again  from me and the girls for the very successful campaign.

Source: Aftonbladet

By Annika Sohlander Cassel

[Google translation]

"They are sent to death"

The Kurdish women Pari and Dilsa have one wish: to live together.

But soon they deported to Iraq, where homosexuals are persecuted and killed.

"It is like sending them straight to the cemetery", says MP Amine Kakabaveh (V).

They live in a small room in one of the Migration Board flats. The decision from the Immigration Court that they be sent out of the country for more than a week, gnaws.

"As a prison"

"It's like a prison without doors or windows. We are so afraid that we can barely sleep or eat, "says Dilsa.

The two women who are in their 30s was hit in Iraq five years ago. But they had to sneak by their emotions. Paris family belongs to one of the most powerful Muslim clans in the country with governmental power. Being a lesbian in the environment was an impossibility.

"It is not against the law because of that they do not believe it exists, "said Amine Kabavah.

Death row of the clan

When the Pari was married off to a relative, she refused and confessed that she loved a woman.

Death sentences were issued by the clan. First Pari would be killed, then Dilsa.

With the help of his mother managed to Pari flee to Sweden in 2006.

While hiding Dilsa at a friend in Iraq. Friend's brother raped her, and she became pregnant.

"I fled to Sweden three months of Pari and here I had an abortion", she says, while she dries her tears. Dilsa brother helped her get out of the country.

Want to get married

When they reunited in Sweden, they wanted to realize a dream: to marry. But the missing documents and they were told that they must obtain a passport.

Dilsa brother in Iraq arranged a passport for his sister, afterwards he was murdered.
If they killed my brother, what will they do to me?
According to the Migration Board, the person liable to be persecuted because of their sexual orientation get protection in Sweden.

"Why not become so in this case, I can not answer because there is privacy, "said press officer John Rahm.

Facebook group in support of the lesbians girls from Iraq

By Amine Kabavah

Following two deportation order of lesbians girls from Iraq, I have taken the initiative to start a Facebook group that advises us all to join in. The presentation is as follows:

Stop the deportation of LGBT people

I have been in contact with two young lesbians girls from Iraqi Kurdistan who have fled forced marriage to a safe haven in Sweden. But the Migration Board's refusal to give them any sanctuary.

One of the girls' brother has already had killed because he helped his sister to escape a forced marriage. The other belongs to a powerful clan family. Being a woman and LGBT persons are apparently no reason to get asylum despite the fact that every day is murdered girls in different parts of the Middle East (and especially in Iraq). There is nothing to get in order to ensure the girls' freedom, neither in konstiatutionen in Iraq or in the laws in force in Iraqi Kurdistan. Even religion, family and social context is for these girls' disadvantage.

If you are opposed to the Migration Board show the girls in similar situations, you should join this group.

The organization behind the petition is neither whore or subdued.

The link to the group can be found here.

Swedish TV news report

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Friday, 26 November 2010

Want to avoid Turkey's military draft? Gay? You'll need video or photographic proof

Adnan Öztürk*: asked by military to submit photos showing him having sex
Source: Hurriyet Daily

Turkey’s military is asking for “photographic” proof that people seeking an exemption from compulsory military service on the grounds of their homosexuality are actually gay, the daily Milliyet reported last week, citing recent EU progress reports.

Many homosexual citizens have reported being asked for photographs or video footage during the process of obtaining a report proving their ineligibility for military service, according to Fırat Söyle, a lawyer for LAMBDA Istanbul, a gay, lesbian and transsexual rights association, daily Taraf reported last week.

Although such a practice is not listed in the regulations, people are still being asked, Söyle said.

In both the 2009 and 2010 of the European Union’s progress reports for Turkey, gays were allegedly asked to provide “photographic proof” of their sexual orientation to avoid service.

The Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, however, has denied that it asks for photos or video footage from gays to prove their sexual orientation in response to a recent report from German weekly Der Spiegel on the matter.

Der Spiegel claimed in its report that the TSK had “the world’s greatest porno archive” because of its policy of asking for proof of sexual orientation from people who seek military service exemption, daily Milliyet reported Nov. 14.

In the UK, another Gay Nigerian faces deportation

NB: see action alert for Uche on what you can do.

Source: PinkPaper.com

By Tris Reid-Smith

A Nigerian who claims he is gay and will be killed if he is forced to return home is due to be deported from Britain on 6 December.

Uche Nnabuife, 33, [pictured, right, with friend] says he has previously been attacked in Nigeria and fled to Britain fearing his own uncle was going to kill him. But now the Home Office refuses to accept he is gay and are about to deport him.

Nnabuife told PinkPaper.com he discovered his sexuality when he was 12 but trouble started two years later when he was discovered having sex with a schoolmate.

“We used to go to the same school. I fancied him and thought he felt the same way. One day I went to his house and we were playing and ended up having sex and his older brother walked in and was shouting we had committed an atrocity.”

The brother and a group of neighbours dragged Nnabuife first to his own house and then the local police station in a frenzied attack, beating and burning him.

“They dragged me to the local police station. The police ask what had happened and they said I had an evil spirit. I was hit on the back of my neck and that’s when I lost consciousness. I woke up in hospital, I don’t know how I got there.”

Nnabuife claims he still has the scars and his supporters in Britain want to get Medical Justice to examine him to provide evidence to support his case, but they can’t afford the £800 needed to do so. [This claim is incorrect, Medical Justice does not charge for examinations].

Nnabuife fled to Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, where he worked in his uncle’s shop. He met his first boyfriend, CJ, and started discovering the underground gay scene there.

“He [CJ] took me to meet gay people in Lagos. It was very secretive. I had to be very careful.”

But his uncle kept encouraging him to get married to a woman. When he refused, his uncle said the stories about him in the village were true and turned on him. CJ took him to stay with a man called Charles and Nnabuife became a rent-boy to survive. With his uncle searching for him, apparently intent on killing him, he fled to Britain, travelling via the Netherlands.

Once in London he lived in a shared flat but others in the flat were involved with cannabis. Nnabuife was eventually arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply and found guilty, although he protests his innocence.

Although he arrived in 2005, Nnabuife told PinkPaper.com he didn’t understand the asylum system and so didn’t make an application until 2009. Meanwhile, his supporters say, he kept himself to himself, fearing the authorities would send him back home if he contacted them.

Homosexuality is a taboo subject in Nigeria and gay sex is illegal. A UN Council of Human Rights report says that violence against gays is “frequent” and sometimes comes from family members.

PinkPaper.com has spoken to friends who insist Nnabuife is gay, has had sexual relationships and boyfriends in the UK and has gone to gay clubs in London. However the Home Office doubt his story because he entered the country using false documents, didn’t ask for asylum straight away and because of his criminal convictions.

The Home Office says it was only at the time of his last appeal, which was mid May, that he stated he was gay. This was around the time the government announced that it would not remove LGB people when they face persecution in their country of origin.

David Wood, Strategic Director for Criminality and Detention Group, said: “In this case both the UK Border Agency and the courts have found that Mr Nnabuife is not in need of protection. In his determination, the Judge found that ‘we find his claims to be homosexual are entirely lacking in credibility’ and that ‘he is a consummate conman, prone to faking his identity when it suits him, and well versed in padding out an untrue story’.”

The asylum judge also said in his determination in Nnabuife’s case: “...we are not satisfied that the appellant is homosexual, has been suspected of being so in Nigeria, ill-treated as a result or fled Nigeria in 2005 in order to escape persecution. We find that in addition to being involved in possessing two kilos of cannabis with intent to supply, demonstrating that he is a man of criminal propensities, he has misrepresented his immigration history, used false documents in the false identity, made unmeritorious applications in a false identity and made a claim for asylum once subject to deportation action solely to avoid removal as opposed to being in genuine fear of persecution or mistreatment in Nigeria.”

And the Home Office told PinkPaper.com it was committed to protecting genuine LGBT people fleeing persecution.

Despite the LGBT Asylum News Editor Paul Canning says the asylum system is all about removal numbers, rather than protection. He says officials have simply moved the goalposts after the UK Supreme Court made it harder to deport LGBT people.

Canning said: “I am concerned that they have simply changed the line since the July Supreme Court decision from ‘go home and be discreet’ to ‘prove that you are gay’ in order to refuse asylum and carry on removing gay people.”

Nnabuife’s supporters also say his asylum case was unfair as the location was changed, meaning vital witnesses weren’t present. And they claim he has suffered from having only patchy legal advice.

They now say that having someone respond to this article may be Nnabuife’s last hope.
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Civil partners included in new Irish immigration legislation

make love not war - CSD Berlin 2006Image via Wikipedia
Source: eurout.org

By Saskia Joreen

The Irish Minister for Justice and Law Reform has tabled amendments to the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill that provide for equal treatment between married couples and civil partners in immigration law.

Eoin Collins, Director of Policy Change at GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) said:
This is a very important advance and will help deliver greater security for same-sex couples worried about separation due to immigration difficulties.
Inclusion of civil partners in immigration law will build on progress already made, especially since 2008, in providing recognition for same-sex couples in immigration regulations. In provisions for people in de facto relationships, non EU same-sex partners of Irish or EU nationals are now entitled to apply for permission to remain in the State on the basis of their relationship.

Collins continues:
GLEN strongly welcomes the amendments proposed by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform which are in line with commitments he made at the advancement and enactment of civil partnership legislation.

GLEN also welcomes the amendments by Alan Shatter and Lucinda Creighton of Fine Gael to provide for inclusion of civil partners. This again reflects the support of all parties for legal recognition of same-sex couples as shown in the debates and final enactment of civil partnership.
Concern over the immigration status of a partner is one of the issues most frequently raised by callers to GLEN over the past 5 years. These callers have included Irish people seeking to return from the US, Canada and other countries but concerned that their same-sex partner would be excluded from living and working in Ireland or even excluded from entering the country.

The calls to GLEN have also included many lesbian and gay people in long-term committed relationships in Ireland with partners from outside the EU concerned that their partner’s permission to live in the State might not be renewed and that they might both have to leave as a result.
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In Cambodia, gays take refuge in their own 'town'

Source: Global Post

By Terry McCoy

Along the train tracks in one of Phnom Penh’s ubiquitous slums, the noise never stops and everything is changing. Longtime residents are fearful that they’ll soon have to move. This place isn’t safe anymore, they say. It isn’t moral anymore.

Along these same tracks, roughly 100 new residents, in search of asylum and community, have trickled in over the last several years and now lead lives of shocking desperation. Most of them only sleep during the day. Some perform acts of prostitution. Others dress as women. Almost all of them are homosexual men. And this place, Beoung Kak 2, has become a home: Cambodia’s first gay town.

But this isn’t Boystown in Chicago, nor the Castro in San Francisco. This isn’t a place where homosexuals can celebrate sexuality, individuality, love. Make no mistake: It’s a place for survival.

Every month more newcomers arrive, and as this community expands and supplants longtime residents, it represents both a burgeoning confidence among Cambodia’s gay population, as well as the difficulties that lie ahead for homosexuals here struggling for acceptance and equality.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Jamaica lies to the UN about LGBT protections

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.Image via Wikipedia
Source: Jamaica Gleaner

By Maurice Tomlinson

At the Universal Periodic Review of Jamaica's human-rights situation, held before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on November 9, the head of the Jamaican delegation, Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte, misinformed the world about Jamaica's human-rights record with regard to gays.

One of her more glaring inaccuracies was that Jamaica has a documented policy to protect women, girls and homosexuals! No such policy exists.

Her statement that "Jamaica does not condone discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation" was startling, in light of our prime minister's very public statement to the British Broadcasting Corporation that no gays will form part of his Cabinet.

She also said that in Jamaica "there is no legal discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation". This belies Section 79 of the Offences Against the Person Act, which discriminates against gays by criminalising any form of intimacy between two men, whether done in private or public.

As a lawyer, a former member of the director of public prosecutions' office and resident magistrate, Senator Malahoo-Forte must surely know about this infamous section.
A fanciful notion

She also denied the existence of "credible" evidence of continued human-rights abuses against gays. Yet, when the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays requested a meeting with the prime minister to discuss these abuses, they were denied.

From the senator's presentation it would appear that effeminate gay Jamaican men can now walk openly downtown Kingston without fear of attack. Truly a fanciful notion. No wonder 11 countries were unimpressed with her presentation and called on Jamaica to end its homophobic laws and policies.

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In the US, binational gay couple reunited through 'strange turn of events'

Source: The Advocate

By Andrew Harmon

In a strange turn of events, a Filipino man denied permission multiple times to remain in the U.S. with his American husband has been granted a tourist visa to reenter the country.

In September, The Advocate  reported the story of Roi Whaley, a 46-year-old casino worker in Gulfport, Miss., who has advanced lung cancer and has been forced to live apart from his husband, Aurelio Tolentino, for more than three years. Tolentino had worked legally as a registered nurse in the U.S. but was denied a green card because of his HIV-positive status (the ban on HIV-positive green card applicants has since been lifted). He also applied for asylum based on his sexual orientation, but his request was denied, and he was ordered to leave the country in 2007.

Tolentino has lived in Vancouver, Canada, with his mother since then and still faces possible deportation to the Philippines. “He’s going to die there,” Whaley said in September of such prospects. “He’s not going have a job, he’s not going to have access to the medication he needs to live, he’s probably going to be shunned by everyone in his family.”

The case caught the attention of an LGBT immigration rights group that has been attempting to reunite the couple. As a matter of protocol, attorneys with Immigration Equality advised Tolentino to first apply for a tourist visa — which likely would be denied — followed by a request to the Department of Homeland Security for “humanitarian parole,” whereby he would be allowed back into the country on a temporary basis to take care of Whaley, who is also HIV-positive and cannot undergo chemotherapy because of his low T-cell count. As a result he faces a grim prognosis.

In Israel, a border wall to stop African refugees

Source: IRIN

Israel is building a 60km-long barrier on its southern border with Egypt aimed at physically keeping out African asylum-seekers amid a rising tide of intolerance towards people widely referred to as “illegal workers".

The barrier will be built at two locations which witness the most crossings - near the Gaza strip and near Eilat. The estimated US$1.35 billion project is due to be completed at the end of 2013.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted in July as saying that the "flood of illegal workers infiltrating from Africa" into Israel was "a concrete threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the country".

Local news channel Ynet recently reported that Netanyahu was also considering paying African countries willing to take in Israel’s asylum-seekers.

Israel immigration authorities estimate 10,000 asylum-seekers have crossed the border so far this year, bringing the total number in the country to some 30,000. This represents a sharp rise on the 1,100 estimated to have crossed in 2006, despite the perils of the journey, which include Egyptian border guards that shoot on sight.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Video: Nollywood's first gay movie

Update: An expert on Nollywood has commented that this isn't the first Nigerian film with homosexual content. Nollywood Forever names 2005's My Brother's Keeper. There's also Hideous Affair from earlier this year. They comment that "sadly homosexuality is portrayed in a very unrealistic way" in all these films.

Source: Nollywood Forever

Nollywood Nigerian Movie Review
Story/ Screenplay – Juliet Chisom Okereke
Director – Moses Ebere
Producer – Kingsley Okereke

Men In Love ~ 2010

Actors and Actresses Starring:
Tonto Dikeh – Whitney
John Dumelo – Charles
Muna Obiekwe – Alex
Halima Abubakar – Flora
Becky Ogbuefi – Pastor
Promise Amadi – Bobby
Ndu Ugochukwu – Cain
Queen Okoro – Tasha

Themes Explored:
Charms (Juju)
My Rating – 60%

Whitney, played by Tonto Dikeh is married to businessman Charles, played by John Dumelo and they have one son. Throughout the course of their marriage she has had to put up with his cheating ways. It is only when long lost friend Alex, played by Muna Obiekwe comes into his life that his philandering ways appear to end. Whitney believing that Alex is a calming influence on her husband allows him to move into their home. Little does she know that Alex is taking advantage of her husband in the worse way.




Whitney catches her husband cheating with his secretary and although she cusses at him a little it is the secretary that she viciously attacks with a broken wine bottle. Why do a lot of women do this? Who was it that made a vow to love, obey and be loyal to you? Was it him on her? I wonder oooo!
Whitney’s friend Flora played by Halima Abubakar tells her,
“It is in a man’s nature to cheat.”
Whitney on the other hand does not believe that to be the case and responds,
“There are men in Nigeria who would give up their right arm not to cheat on their wives.”
So which is it? If it is in a man’s nature does that mean that cheating is inevitable especially where there is opportunity?


Alex tries to gauge Charles opinion on homosexuality by telling him about his chef friend being a homosexual,
“You see even if he wanted to get married in this country you wouldn’t be able to – you see he is gay.”
I was surprised when Alex asked Charles if he had a problem with homosexuality that he replied,
“No, not at all.”
I imagined the typical response from a Naija man would be to react in disgust, however, in saying that times are changing and people are more exposed. Life experience also plays a factor in a situation like this. He may have also acted so positively so as not to cause offence, seeing as he was eating the gay chef’s food.

We find out more about Charles’ feelings in homosexuality when he says to Alex,
“I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be gay. I mean what is the point what is there to gain?”
Do straight people base their sexuality on what there is to gain from it? Charles uses the word want. That is another debate. Do gay people want or choose to be gay? Alex listing the positives on being gay to me was ridiculous. Who sits down and thinks, ok I don’t want to get a chick pregnant, I want to be able to cheat on my wife easier, so AHA! YES! I’ll sleep with a man. How would a straight man decide to sleep with a man for such flimsy reasons? BE REAL. Men sleep with men because they are attracted to them. POINT BLANK.

There was a scene close to the end of the movie where Alex and charles are openly kissing in a restaurant. How likely would this be in Nigeria? They were not the only people in the place and it was not a “gay restaurant.” Even more ridiculous was the camp gay men rolling up to Alex and Charles’ table and causing a big scene, cussing, clapping and whooping,
“boyfriend snatcher!”
The scene was kinda funny but no way can I imagine such a scene taking place in a public place in Nigeria where straight people are onlookers.


Charles uses the bible to justify the wrongness of homosexuality. He tells Alex,
“The bible frowns upon the act.”

What a hypocrite! Did your bible tell you to stick your penis into the hole of every woman with a pulse that comes your way? He knows how to quote the bible, but does not quote it in relation to his own ungodly acts. I was glad that Alex made him aware of his own acts of sin,
“Infidelity is also a sin.”


Alex drugs and rapes Charles, as if the act of raping someone has the ability to change something as innate as sexuality. I swear the way some people think is absurd. What is the joy is having sex with someone that you supposedly like so much if it is not reciprocal. How is having sex with someone while they are out cold going to make them fall in love with you. Well according to this movie IT WORKS. Alex tells Charles,
“I’m sorry I did what I did Ok – we are meant to be together.” BLOODY FOOL.

I am not surprised that Charles did not tell anyone about the rape as the shame of male rape even greater than that of female. I doubt many men would tell for fear of being labelled gay which is a huge taboo in African societies.

Charms (Juju)

Where the whole movie fell apart for me after the rape. Cherles is angry for a very short while and then decides that he wants to be with Alex, even going to his house to apologise. Now tell me how do YOU get raped and then go and apologise? Even if you did decide you like men after the fact, why would you apologise? If anything you would be angry at being turned out.

BULLSHIT. Who gets raped ESPECIALLY by a friend and then says thank you for being hurt? A friend raping you is a HUGE betrayal of trust, one that is unforgiveable to most people. That whole part of the storyline was ridiculous and didn’t ring true for me. From being angry at being raped and tormented about it a few days later you are sitting in your matrimonial home snogging the face off your rapist whom you have now moved in with you? WHATEVER.

At the end of the movie homosexuality is put down to Alex doing Juju on Charles. How bloody typical! Whitney consults a pastor who puts down him sleeping with a man as him being under some “strong satanic bond.” Oh that makes it all alright then! Let me go and rob a bank and tell the police I was under a strong satanic bond. Nonsense. Charms and Juju is always used in these movies to make excuses for people’s behaviour. Men are gay because they like and are attracted to other men, and whomever cannot grasp that concept should build a bridge and get over it.
Tonto tells Charles at the end of the movie,
I knew you could not do that to me.”
Er yes love he did. He made the choice to have an affair with a man. This is how women will continually be stupid blaming things on JUJU. Open your eyes. The blame for continually sleeping with a man lies with Charles and Whitey allowing it to be blamed on Satan takes away the responsibility he has to be faithful and respect his wife. The guy was even useless before he started sleeping with a man. Was it Satan too when he was sleeping with every woman in town?

There was no mention of juju making him unable to curb his sexual appetite with women? Or perhaps that is expected. The pastor of course encourages Whitney to fight for useless sex maniac husband, after all marriage is sacred abi? Whitney’s prayers set her husband free from the bondage of homosexuality.. If only life were so easy. Also helping him return to his wife was the fact that his lover was thrown in jail. I wonder if his lover had not have been jailed if the “satanic bond” might have returned.

Performances by the Cast

Muna Obiekwe looks better and much much cuter since he got rid of that mop he was sporting on top of his head in the last movie that I saw him in HOPELESS TOMORROW. He was very convincing as a gay man. He wasn’t overly camp but just camp enough to make you SAY WHAT? He had enough intensity in his eyes when directing his affection towards John Dumelo to make us believe his desire for him.

Tonto Dikeh gives a very dramatic and passionate performance as Whitney, the wife scorned. In one of the first scenes we see her confront her husband in a hotel room with his secretary. You literally see the veins popping from the side of Tonto’s neck. One problem that Tonto seems to have is that she trips over her words when she is doing a dramatic scene where she is shouting or speaking animatedly. It seems like she just has to slow it down a little and think about what she is saying so that we in turn can understand what she is saying.

I thought that the casting was great for Alex’s friends. They were all at ease with each other and looked and acted exactly as you would imagine a bunch of gay men in a room to. There is a hilarious scene where Charles arrives at Alex’s party and the priceless look on Charles’s face when he realises (after about 5 minutes or so) that the people at the party are all men and obviously GAY.

Nollywood Forever Say’s What?

Imagine your husband rolling up to YOUR party wearing matching suits with his gay lover? Liberties! That is the height of disrespect. Her friends should have blatantly told her when they found out about his homosexual frolicking in public. At the same time perhaps they didn’t tell her because they knew she would not accept it til she saw it with her own eyes.

I was glad that they didn’t try and cover up Tonto’s tattoo in this movie because all that covering up that they have being trying to do just makes her look as if she has a dirty neck. If they cannot do a proper cover up job. I beg they just leave it alone.

Why was Whitney friend calling Charles “darling” I didn’t think that was appropriate? How a chick up in your house and calling your husband “darling” Naaaa it just doesn’t seem right.

Whitney and her friend’s were sitting around the table eating Alex’s eba and egusi with acrylic nails. All I could think was ewwwww. It puts a plasticky taste in your mouth and all the food with get stuck in the acrylic join in your nails… GROSS!

The Title

I think they should not have called the movie Men in Love. After all charles was simply under a spell and not in love. It should have been called MAN UNDER SATANIC BONDAGE.
I liked the film and would recommend it. The cast were great and It approached a taboo subject. However to me it would have made more sense if the story revolved around sex addiction and Charles’ insatiable appetite for sex in whatever form it came in rather than him being raped and then turning gay. The part where it fell down for me was bringing the whole juju thing into it. It felt like a bit of a cop out. They decided to make a movie on this taboo subject but then couldn’t go the full way with it. Nevertheless it’s worth watching.

In Botswana, the first trans organisation establishes

Source: Behind the mask

By Betesta

As the transgender movement rises across Africa and the world Botswana have formed their own transgender identity oriented organisation titled Rainbow Identity Association (RIA) aiming to offer support trans people whose identity was not recognised by the lesbian, gay and bisexual community as well as the general society as their programs excluded the trans community.

Officially opened in May 2010 by Transman Skipper Mogapi, RIA, is a non profit association of trans men and women, queer, gender questioning, transsexual and gender non conforming people in Botswana.

Asked about the importance of forming a new organisation instead of including Trans people on the already existing Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo) Mogapi said Rainbow Identity focuses on gender identity while LeGaBiBo focuses more into sexual orientation.

He added, “Although RIA has three months since it opened office, we have managed to get buy in from different organisations that now we can call our stakeholders and the reception was most welcomed by organisations such as BONELA, Ditshwanelo, Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) etc.

Meanwhile RIA has recently organised a camp on 29 to 31 October 2010 aiming to create an environment that allows the leader to begin working together with all members as an effective and productive team.

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