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Memorial day held for murdered LGBT people in South Africa

in SOUTH AFRICA, 24/04/2013

In a country where vicious attacks against gay people are rife, activists stress the need to honor and remember

A day of commemoration will be held in South Africa in honor of all LGBT individuals murdered due to their sexual orientation today (24 April).

The day is being organized by Amnesty International and the local LGBT rights organisation Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC).

It will involve a short memorial service, after which participants will be given the opportunity to write messages of hope and condolence that will remain at the site as a memorial.

The day was chosen as it marks the two-year anniversary of the death of South African lesbian LGBT rights activist Noxolo Nogwaza.

On 24 April 2011, she was raped, stoned and stabbed to death.

It is believed she was killed because of her sexuality, and both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have since condemned her murder as a hate crime.

Two years after the 24-year-old’s death, the investigation into her murder has made no progress, and her killers remain at large.

South Africa has recently seen an upsurge of what appear to be hate crimes, targeted at people because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Last week, police announced the murder of a ninth gay man in the region of Gauteng – the same area Nogwaza was raped and murdered in 2011.

Like with Nogwaza’s case, no person has yet been sentenced for any of the nine homophobic hate crimes but four people have been arrested.

A Facebook page for the commemoration day says: ‘Noxolo was a dedicated EPOC activist, a mother of two young children and an avid soccer fan and player.

‘To this date, her perpetrators have not yet been apprehended, no suspects have been arrested and her family cannot rest until justice is served.’

Amnesty International is encouraging people to send out messages of solidarity through Twitter, Facebook and other social media today to speak out against LGBT discrimination.

You can help Amnesty International by clicking here.

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