by Tim Moffett -
SGN Staff Writer
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), founded in 1990, is a leading international human rights organization dedicated to improving the lives of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. They are dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the LGBT human rights movement worldwide to conduct documentation of LGBT human rights violations and by engaging in human rights advocacy with partners around the globe. They also work with the United Nations, regional human rights monitoring bodies and civil society partners. IGLHRC holds consultative status at the United Nations as a recognized Non-Governmental Organization representing the concerns and human rights of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender people worldwide.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission will host over 20 activists from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in December. They will participate in inter-regional meetings during a weeklong visit, and engage with UN agencies, missions, and global civil society on specific LGBT advocacy issues. In many parts of the world today, LGBT people live under the threat of physical violence and other forms of discrimination. Over 76 nations criminalize same-sex relations, and others lack legal protections for LGBT people.
On December 9, activists from South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi will meet with members of the press to address LGBT issues in their regions. The activists and the issues they face are:
Chesterfield Samba, Zimbabwe, is the current Director of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ). As a Gay activist, Samba follows political developments in Zimbabwe and analyzes political developments and their implications on citizens of LGBTI communities. Samba has a special interest in advancing human rights of minorities and marginalized communities.
Dorothy A'ken'ova, Nigeria, a feminist and sexual rights activist, is the founder and executive director of the International Center for Sexual Reproductive Rights (INCRESE). A'ken'ova, also an IGLHRC Africa Advisory Committee member, creates and manages community projects targeting young people, women, and other sexual minorities. She has coordinated national research and analyzed sexual diversity and human rights in Nigeria. A'ken'ova is currently implementing an advocacy project for the protection of the human rights of sexual minorities, and the eradication of discriminatory laws.
Friedel Dausab, Namibia, has worked in the HIV prevention field for the past 10 years. Working with NGOs, Dausab participated in community-based initiatives, and evidence-based and participatory inventions within communities of people living with HIV. He currently sits on local and regional committees, such as the Namibian Global Fund CCM, Namibia's Ministry of Health, and AMSHeR.
Gaelle Tjat, Cameroon, is a blogger, journalist and human rights defender. Tjat is a consultant at the Association of Defence of Homosexuals (ADEFHO) and a coordinator at Elles.
Gift Trapence, Malawi, is the executive director of the Centre for the Development of People. Trapence's work made several strides in the fight for LGBT human rights, including the announcement of the suspension of sodomy laws by the Malawi government. Trapence's HIV research on men who have sex with men has been published by several science journals, including the Lancet.
Juliet Mphande, Zambia, is a founding member and the current executive director of RAINKA Zambia, where she has worked extensively on the rights of minorities. Mphande currently sits on human rights corporate policy making bodies including, The Global Forum for Civil Society through the US Embassy, the Bilateral Initiative on Human Rights and the Junior Achievement International.
Julius Kaggwa, Uganda, is the executive director of the Support Initiative for People with atypical sex Development (SIPD). Kaggwa led international campaigns against Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, which was tabled in October 2009. He has facilitated workshops on the rights of Intersex and gender variant people, and authored several media articles in these topics.
Kapya Kaoma, Zambia, an ordained Anglican priest, is the author of the groundbreaking report, 'Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.' He is currently the rector of Christ Church in Hyde Park, MA, and visiting researcher at Boston University Center for Global Christianity and Mission.
Liesl Theron, South Africa, is a Co-Founder of Gender DynamiX and is actively involved in the South African LGBT sector. She contributed extensively to her organization's first book, TRANS: Transgender Life Stories from South Africa, interviewing and actively participating in focus groups. Her research projects on gender identity, sexual health and rights, and inaccessible shelters for LGT people have been published in various journals.
Melanie Judge, South Africa, is a human rights activist who collaborates with non-profit organizations and donors on strategy, research and communications to advance social justice. Judge was integrally involved in advocacy and law reform for marriage equality in South Africa. As an author and commentator, she has also published and presented widely on matters of gender and sexuality.
Damian Ugwu, Regional Program Coordinator, Africa, is embedded in the dynamic environment of LGBT rights in Africa. Described as one of the 'best human rights researchers in Nigeria' by peers, Ugwu has contributed to publications on the current state of human rights in Nigeria. He has trained human rights defenders on documentation of human rights violations and his expertise extends throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
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