Rights Group push for the end of the homophobia against LGBTQ+

Rights Group push for the end of the homophobia against LGBTQ+

The civil society organizations with the mandate to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities have expressed the dire need for empowerment and respect for the human rights promotion and social justice of the sexual minorities and equal opportunities.

This was observed during the celebration of Pride Month organized by Human Rights First Rwanda Association, a local rights group advocating for promotion of social justice and respect for the human rights of all people most especially the marginalized and vulnerable segment members of the community and sexual minorities.

The event held in Kigali featured the participation of the LGBTQ+ community including lesbians, gays, transgender, and queers.

Pride Month, celebrated annually in June, honors the LGBTQ+ community and commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which marked a significant turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Speaking to the LGBTQ+ communities Jonathan Musangwa Program Officer at the Human Rights First Rwanda Association stated that the Pride Month is a time to honor the diversity and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community

“This event is not only a celebration but also a renewal of our commitment to fight against homophobic tendencies in our Rwandan society and in the Great Lakes region.”

Christian Garuka, the Human rights lawyers stressed that activities such as Pride Month can slowly change people’s minds and hearts.

“You cannot change people’s minds one day. It will take time and effort but stress is formed,” he said adding “Change is possible despite the existing homophobic and trans phobic attitudes.”

Garuka emphasized to the community individuals that the primary advocacy belongs to them. He said you always put blame on the civil societies which is reluctant to you but you need to come out of the closest yourself and speak up your needs.”

Another participant who didn’t disclose his names on the conditions of anonymity said, “the main goal of the advocacy is to have an LGBTQ+ inclusive community with acceptance and a supportive environment where LGBTQ+ individuals feel at home.”

The participant argued “there are existing challenges LGBTQ+ such as lack of access to intro-vitro fertilization for LGBTQ+’s and denial of the rights to association to difficulties in the registration of the LGBTQ+’s.”

He further noted, “Homophobia against the LGBTQ+ remains a reality in Rwandan society including at workplaces, hospitals and schools.”

So far, LGBTQ+ communities inquire deeper inclusion and official recognition by the government.

Maily Isaro, a transgender woman said she is “always fearful to come out of the closet because of the possible discrimination that would come along. We want official recognition that is productive without any suspicions. If it is voting, we should be allowed to do so with our new genders,” she said.

Juvens Kanyarushoki a human rights lawyer stated “it is a must to recognize and include the LGBTQ community in our social fabric.”

The lawyer emphasized that social inclusion is not just a matter of legal rights but a human dignity and respect.

He believes embracing diversity and ensuring the protection and inclusion of LGBTQ individuals is essential for building a cohesive and progressive nation.”

He later adds “We must continue to champion the rights and social inclusion of the LGBTQ community in Rwanda. We must persist in our efforts to create a society where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels valued and respected.”

Rwanda remains one of the few African countries that have assented to international conventions and continental frameworks that protect the human rights of all citizens, including the UN Declarations on Sexual Orientations and Gender Identity and the UN Report on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity of LGBT populations. The country is also a signatory to the 2011 United Nations statement condemning violence against LGBT people and has joined nine other African countries to support.

Christian NGIRINSHUTI

Christian NGIRINSHUTI

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