Category Archives: Belgium

Fiyabo: The Story of Nigerian Gay Christian Davis Mac-Iyalla

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Fiyabo by Davis Mac-IyallaDavis Mac-Iyalla wrote his story down in a book: Fiyabo. On 7th January 2014, the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, enacted some of the most extreme anti-gay laws on the planet. For example, holding hands with someone of the same sex, or being a member of a gay support organisation can earn you up to ten years in jail. This has been done with the hearty approval of the Nigerian Anglican Church. In practice, widespread mob violence against gay people has ensued, with horrific abuses of human rights. Davis Mac-Iyalla is a Nigerian settled in UK, and an Anglican Christian, who lived and worked in Nigeria until he was forced to flee in 2006. He was one of the first Nigerian gay men to come out publically and has campaigned for the rights of LGBTI people for over twenty years. He co-founded Alliance Rights, the first gay and lesbian network in Nigeria, and in 2005 founded Changing Attitude Nigeria, the Nigerian wing of the international organisation Changing Attitude, which supports LGBTI Anglicans. He is a lay reader, a Knight of the Church of Nigeria, and in February of 2008, received the “Bishop Desmond Tutu Award for Human Rights and Social Justice” from the World Pride and Power Organisation . In 2008, following imprisonment, torture, violent attack, and a string of death threats, he was forced to flee Africa for the UK where he continues his fight for human rights. In Davis’ native language, ‘Fiyabo’ (the title of this book), means ‘Survivor’. Davis and his LGBTI brothers and sisters are survivors. They fight and continue to fight to make fellow Nigerians and fellow Africans understand that being gay is not un-African, nor un-Nigerian, nor ungodly, but simply the way some people are.

Davis Mac-Iyalla and Jan Beddeleem on Tyne Cot Cemetry in 2009

Davis Mac-Iyalla and Jan Beddeleem in 2009 on Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetry and Memorial to the dead and the missing of the First World War.

“Davis has done a magnificent job exposing the victimisation of gay people in Nigeria – a victimisation that is incited and endorsed by the Anglican Church of Nigeria.” Peter Tatchell, British human rights defender. “I hesitate to call anyone a saint – that is really God’s busness. But for me Davis displays the qualities, beginning with the great humanity, that we associate with such campaigners as William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, and Peter Tatchell.” John Henson, Baptist Minister and author of ‘Good As New’, ‘The Gay Disciple‘, ‘Make Christmas Real’ etc. “Davis’ new book will touch the hearts and minds of all who read it.'” Ifalade Ta’Shia Asanti, Award-winning journalist, Activist and Author.

Davis Mac-Iyalla 2009 drawing by by Jo Veldeman

Davis Mac-Iyalla by artist Jo Veldeman – 2009

Davis Mac-Iyalla was invited to vist Belgium by WISH vzw in 2009 and visited Belgian and European MP’s as well as different NGO’s. It was a mutual enriching experience and in chapter two, page 70 of the book he reflects on this journey to Brussels and Flanders.  Read the dutch interview Davis gave that time to the daily newspaper De Morgen here

Order the book here.

RAINBOWREFUGEES: wet by the rain.Missed opportunity on the impact of unenforced anti same-sex law

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Today, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) published a commentary, analysing in detail the 7 November 2013 judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the joined cases of X, Y and Z v. Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel, which arose from three asylum claims in the Netherlands in which the applicants asserted a well-founded fear of persecution for reason of their sexual orientation.

You can download the commentary X, Y and Z: a glass half full for “rainbow refugees”?’ here: http://www.icj.org/x-y-and-z-a-glass-half-full-for-rainbow-refugees/.

Positively, the Court found that asylum applicants who have a same-sex sexual orientation and come from countries where consensual homosexual conduct is criminalised, form a particular social group for the purposes of EU refugee law. Further, the Court’s recognition that sexual orientation is a characteristic so fundamental to one’s identity that one cannot be expected to renounce or conceal it, or to exercise greater restraint in its expression than heterosexuals, is welcome. Likewise, the Court’s finding that the enforcement of a term of imprisonment that sanctions consensual homosexual acts must be regarded as a disproportionate or discriminatory punishment, and is thus persecutory, is a step forward, particularly given that in some EU countries this was hitherto not the case.asylum fortune lotery

However, in some important respects this judgment represents a missed opportunity. The Court failed to clarify the inconsistency between secondary EU refugee law and the UNHCR’s authoritative interpretation of “a particular social group” in the Refugee Convention’s definition of a refugee. Further, in choosing to maintain the narrow scope of the questions referred to it, the Court ended up with an unwarrantedly restrictive reading of EU refugee law, which ignores the numerous persecutory effects of criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual orientation or gender identity. The Court missed a chance to state that these laws, even when they are not enforced in the sense that there exists a recent record of enforcement through the actual imposition of terms of imprisonment, have a persecutory effect, as they criminalize an essential characteristic of one’s identity.

Source: Laurens C. Hueting – ICJ

Brussels PRIDE 4 EVERY 1 QUESTIONED: Alternative 4 PRIDE OUT NOW!

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“Bring your true colours and let them shine with us!”

A new call has been launched to weight more on the real political objectives of the Belgian Pride. With the pride taking place one week before the elections, there’s a big chance that the pride will be very colourfull, especially the colours of political propaganda machines might be overwhelming. For the first time after years of consensus, there’s a call launched to make the claim more political and more audible. A facebook page has been launched and an open letter prepared:

“Want to bring a new dynamic to “The Pride” and make it more inclusive? Join our parade of LGBTQI, feminist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, body positive and crip organisations; human rights activists; and associations for HIV/STD prevention! Make sure your voice gets heard and help our sparkling collective to show the enormous diversity of our identities, desires, practices, stories, projects and demands.
The ‘Alternatieve Pride Alternative’ wants to repoliticize the LGBTQI discourse used by the Pride and aims at anchoring our struggles in the broader fight against all systems of oppression (sexism, racism, capitalism, etc.).”

Discover the demands at www.facebook.com/notes/apa-belgium/alternatieve-pride-alternative-nl/1395334160750206 (Dutch version) or www.facebook.com/notes/apa-belgium/alternatieve-pride-alternative-fr/1395326024084353 (French version).

If you want to co-sign the call please contact the organisers before the 10th of May 2014 at apabelgium at gmail.com.

The signed letter will be handed to “The Pride” on the 17th of May 2014.

“Feel free to bring your different colours, exciting reflections and refreshing ideas and join us as a sympathizer on the 17th !”

Members of the Alternatieve Pride Alternative:
Amnesty International, le Club du 23, Fat Positivity Belgium, Garance, Genres d’à côté, Genres Pluriels, Merhaba, queerpunxbelgium, Université des Femmes.

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