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SAfAIDS launches zero tolerance to homophobia campaign
Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS)
October 03, 2013
Over 40 African
Leaders from Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are gathered
in Johannesburg for The Regional Leadership Indaba aimed at championing
the fight against homophobia. Running with the theme “Leadership
is protecting ALL: Protecting ALL is Leadership”, witnessed
leaders from the religious, political and cultural spectrums engaging
in dialogues for change and protection of “ALL” including
Rev Gift Mpho
Moerane, of the South Africa Council of Churches set the tone of
the two days workshop by his thought provoking remarks. In his address,
the Reverend highlighted the importance of involving religious leaders
and churches in the fight against discrimination and the violations
of human rights. “Leaders should come together to pressure
governments to act against discrimination. Violation of human rights
should be part of the government agenda. As leaders you need to
act as the voices of the voiceless ones” said Rev Moerane.
He emphasised the importance of leaders working together to help
curb the rise of discrimination of people for no reason.
The two day
indaba comes at a time when Africa is facing a widespread epidemic
of violence against the LGBTI communities and is serving as a perfect
vehicle to educate the various leaders on LGBTI issues and their
role in fighting homophobia.
The launch of
the Leadership is protecting ALL Indaba marks an important time
in Africa. “We enforce the concept of Ubuntu, which emphasises
a mutual respect amongst people. Today we pledge to speak out against
any form of discrimination, stigma against LGBTI persons. Most importantly
we pledge to take care of one another”, said SAfAIDS Executive
Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu. The lack of understanding often causes
discrimination and stigmatization. It is therefore the duty of everyone
here to deconstruct the notions around homosexuality and clarify
that same sex relationships are not rooted in their sexual function;
It is not something new homosexuality can be traced back in time,
added Mrs Chingandu.
In his address
SAfAIDS Head of Regional Programmes, Mr Ngoni Chibukire acknowledged
the primary goals of the conference which aims to increase respect
for human rights of the LGBTI persons through; addressing key drivers
of homophobia among leaders in Africa. “The end goal of the
Leadership Indaba is to get leaders and the media to speak out on
abuse and challenge the wave to criminalize LGBTI people,”
said Mr Chibukire.
Tshaka and Leon Roets of the University of South Africa; UNISA provided
insights into Sexual Rights and the workplace. Key themes identified
include: Sexual Rights as leverage for Social Justice towards LGBTI
wellbeing in workplace, organisations and community. In their presentation,
they highlighted the importance of treating people equally, with
dignity and fairness. The benefit of this will be felt by society
at large. Social justice is about giving people what is due.
workshop like this LGBTI should participate so that they can talk
to us “Never plan with people that plan for people”
said Leon Roets of UNISA. Meetings like this are important in influencing
change of laws; we need them to help create visibility and a voice
for the voiceless ones. If the leaders can be educated on issues
of LGBTI they will help educate their communities to embrace homosexuality
as a natural trait. It is a part of who one is like their race,
it is not something you can change or choose” added Professor
touched on Gender Based Violence (GBV), transforming gender (addressed
from myopic discussion), unequal power structures in society, sexual
abuse and culture of lawlessness (covering of LGBTI and other minorities).
The launch of
the Movement for Rock Leadership Champions and the “Zero Tolerance
for Homophobia” Campaign in Africa emphasized the need to
develop interventions that are evidence based. Foster dialogues
and also educate leaders on the matters relating to the LGBTI.
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