A US-based human rights NGO, Global Rights this week organized a two-day “training of trainers” workshop in Freetown, Sierra Leone to run from January 19 to 20.
Twenty-two individuals representing human rights organizations from the four regions of the country attended the workshop.
The training was titled: “Defending LGBTI Rights in Sierra Leone- Sierra Leone LGBTI Rights, Issues, Law, Local institutions and Cultural Context.”
The goal of the training was to increase the capacity of human rights organizations to promote and defend the rights of LGBTI persons in Sierra Leone. Specific objectives included:
– Increase the knowledge of basic LGBTI rights issues, laws and cultural context
– Increase the knowledge of sexual rights in context
– Increase the knowledge of the universal human rights framework and:
– Share experience of LGBTI groups from Nigeria.
Hudson Tucker, the program manager of Global Rights in Sierra Leone said, “This kind of workshop is timely in Sierra Leone in the face of the increasing homophobia in Africa. It is our goal at Global rights to ensure that human rights organizations in Sierra Leone have their capacity strengthened to respond to LGBTI human rights violations in the country.”
He added, “We are working very closely to organizations that have their special focus on LGBT human rights i.e. Dignity Association and WhyCantWeGetMarried.Com as well as other human rights organizations that have interest on LGBTI rights advocacy.
A participant attending the workshop from Bo-southern Sierra Leone spoke of the training and said, “It is very good and useful. I am happy to be here as I am learning not only about LGBTI rights but Human rights in general.”
Asked what he made of the training, he said, “I will to make good use of the training. When I get to my community, I will talk to my peers about human rights and the discrimination of LGBT people face. They are human and they have rights such as freedom of expression and association.”
“I will like to also like to engage in advocacy to other human rights organizations that do not regard LGBTI rights as human rights.”
Global rights’ global LGBTI rights initiative began in 2006 with several activities implemented in Nigeria. The initiative expanded to Sierra Leone in the last quarter of 2011.