LGBT and human rights activists from Nigeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda gathered recently in Nairobi to learn how to better record and respond to human rights violations of LGBT people.
The activists are part of the Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response (PITCH) programme, which builds capacity of community-based organisations to advocate for equal and full rights for key populations to HIV and sexual and reproductive health services.
These organisations respond to situations of violence, lack of security and denial of services to LGBT people as part of their daily work.
While the human rights-context for LGBT people differs for each of these countries, there are many parallels.
In Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda LGBT people face criminalisation, and activists from all five countries reported experiences of family exclusion, negative media attention, harmful cultural attitudes, violence and difficulty accessing health services.
As one participant put it: "In my country, if I identify as a gay person I am considered a curse".
Despite these difficult contexts, the feeling throughout the workshop was one of hope and positivity. The young activists were eager to continue pushing their governments to respect, protect and promote human rights, not just for themselves but above all for other LGBT people in their countries.
To help them do this more effectively, participants were trained in using Rights-Evidence-ACTion (REAct), a community-based system for monitoring and responding to human rights-related barriers in accessing HIV and health services, developed by the Alliance. Read more via AIDS Alliance