African lesbians launch West African LGBT human rights defenders project

The Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), launched its LGBT Human Rights Defenders, HRD project in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday August 26, 2011.

Participants in the HRD workshop, which was held in collaboration with The Initiative for Equal Rights, TIER, a Nigerian-based LGBT human rights organization, attended the launch alongside some members of the Lagos LGBT community.

“The human rights defenders project was inspired by the violence faced by LGBT HRDs especially in countries where there are laws prohibiting same-sex relationship and the advocacy of their rights” said Victor Mukasa, the CAL HRD Project coordinator.

“Instances of this violence include the murder of David Kato of Uganda and FannyAnn Viola Eddy of Sierra Leone to mention a few,” Mukasa said.

With funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA, CAL has already sets up a safe house for LGBT human rights defenders in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“The safe home is not only open to activists in times of crises but also open when they are crashing mentally. We encourage the mental stability of activists and promote their psycho-social welfare by also admitting them into the safe home at CAL’s expense,” said Mukasa.

The human rights defenders project has now been launched in West Africa and activity will spread soon to the Eastern and Southern Africa regions.

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