THE 2ND CFCS CONFERENCE BRIEF REPORT
KEY DONORS PRESENT
HIVOS, ARCUS FOUNDATION, UHAI, MAMA CASH, OSI
AN OVERVIEW OF LGBTI AND SEX WORKER ORGANISING IN AFRICA AND IN THE REGION
There was lots of engagement in this topic and just some of the few pointers that came from all this talk were:
IGLHRC- There has been a misuse in the resources that have been availed to tackle this issue
-There is the challenge of the various Bills that are being tabled all around Africa i.e. the Anti- homosexual Bill of Uganda and we should all join hands to fight the enemy…governments and all those that are party to that.
-We must all look at ourselves as radical activists so as to be in a better position to address the whole LGBTI movement in Africa
-There has been a lot of emergence of the Trans and intersex movements here in Africa
As much as the donors would like us to dance to their tunes (Power dynamisms) by dictating what we should be fighting, it is extremely important that they come to the ground and see what exactly our plight is then they can fund us. Even as we build effective movements all across Africa, there also a need for the donors to pour more funding so that we can diversify our representation even at the rural level. Other than that, there a need to use these resources better. A challenge to the donors was that there was also the need for them to grow with the grantees in the sense that instead of them just running programs after5yrs or so for example, they should take more time with them so that they can be properly established.
BUILDING BRIDGES, NETWORKS AND COLLATIONS AND COLLABORATIONS
Threats that surround the building of coalition at this present day here in Africa were discovered to be: -
-Competing interests among the various organizations
-funding around the programs that the various organizations have
Galck spoke in brief about how they were able to establish the coalition whereby Kenyan activists came together and diversity presented itself and thus the formation of the umbrella. This was vey impressive because some of the key elements that the donors kept insisting on during the conference was coalition building.
WHERE IS THE “I/T” IN LGBTI?
This should was a very great concern for the intersex and transsexual community because they demanded to know why the various organizations claimed to be LGBTI and yet they have no space for the them….most of them never at one time feel uncomfortable being there because they claim the lesbians as it is already are sidelining them.
How best can the various organizations cater for the “IT’s” without being in the whole scope of homosexual movement and gender reassignment, gender development are these conditions that should be fixed? How then can we think of sexuality without thinking gender?
This was a challenge that was thrown to the various LGBTI organizations in terms of advocating for the legal rights of the IT’s, how far have they gone with the legal process? For instance with the Intersex, Kagwa from Uganda said that the process of determining the sex of the child should be clearly left to the person affected so that they can make the correct decision instead of the parents just chopping off what they feel should stay, terming it worse than genital mutilation.
Feminists were also urged to stand up in solidarity to fight this cause as it was their issue too. “no need to get details but just react”
RESPONDING TO ATTACKS: EMERGENCIES, MEDIA AND SECURITY
Solidarity means running the same risks was the point aired at this juncture. In terms of fighting for the same cause, Uganda mobilized their counterparts and engaged the media through a campaign dubbed” Let us live in peace’ with their aim to educate the media to stop the various attacks that the state was responsible for.
It is also important to note that there is need to identify a strategy that is being used against you and then know how to approach the relevant funder and what other options there are in terms of funding. Arnica spoke briefly about the upcoming security management training not only for the person who has experienced the attacks but also what kind of measures need to be taken and look in depth about the general human rights protection in Kenya. Points of concern that were noted are: Do we have security trainers in Kenya, need for organizations to request for funding so as to have this kind of training, should the funding for instance cater for individuals that are not members of a certain organization?, and how quick can these funds be availed in terms of an emergency evacuation?
LAW AND LEGAL STRATEGIES: ARE WE USING THE LAW TO OUR ADVANTAGE
There was a recap of the discussion that was held about the Ugandan anti- homosexual bill and its implication and it was clear that that is a measure of the government and all the stakeholders to control the freedom of expression, movement and even quality amongst other freedoms. Through this, there was also a measure of the government to remove itself from international conventions and to further punish the Ugandans living outside who practice “homosexuality”. This clearly indicates the repercussions that the bill has and its possibility of trickling down to other countries and making life impossible for the lgbti community, and affiliates of the lgbti. So there is indeed a need to take action through all the organizations and speak with one voice by having clear demands which is of paramount importance.
Victor mukasa’s case that was won on 2008 is just but a great example about how solidarity can achieve great results. The very constitution that was used against him is the very same one that was reversed! A case of misuse of the law.
Rwanda’s views- constitution was voted in 2003 and guarantees fundamental human rights and international human rights instruments ratified gives primacy to the law of the land and they are currently in the process of modifying the penal code..Especially article 217. Culture fundamentalism was a lso noted to be a great threat and criminalizing lgbti encroaches seriously on their human rights and also affects health issues. Issues must be anchored from a human rights perspective; we must look into laws that are enacted that protect the lgbti situations across the world. Most of covenants have not been domesticated and so we need to have a strategic impact litigation e.g. mukasa’s case to bring transformation across the board. Again, the need for proper documentation.
After all was said, key priorities that emerged and need attention as far as Kenya is concerned were:
1-Health issues and the need to sensitize the healthcare providers and community members
2-Laws ie good representation of lgbti and sws in the constitutional review process and the universal periodic review process and GALCK would best be suited to take up that challenge,- documentation of human rights violations, lobbying for people in the CRP, involving new groups in the broader movement/umbrella and identifying key articles that anti-sexual
3-Policy formulation. Lobbying all stakeholders in all policy formulation and change.-Patnering with GALCK,KHRC, KITUO CHA SHERIA, KEMRI LVCT were all important entry points for realizing change.
4-Awareness through engaging the media
(Feel free to ask for clarity and indepth conversation in regards to all the 5 points mentioned above)
Organizations to engage with each other and stop dependence on donors. We need to rethink donor/activists engagement and start to think of building coalitions that are strong due to the financial crunches that are being experienced worldwide.