Violence against lesbian women in Africa
On behalf of the participants at the conference celebrating the twentieth anniversary of ADEFRA (Black Women in Germany)
, from September 22-24, 2006, we, members of European, African and North American black women’s and lesbian organizations, Call attention to the systematic and brutal violence against lesbian women in Africa,
• the rape and murder of Fanny Ann Eddy in Sierra Leone in 2004. Her rapist and murderer was tried but allowed to escape from his cell
• the murder of 19 year old Zoliswa Nkonyana at the hands of 20 lesbophobic young men in Khayelitsha, South Africa in 2006
• to the countless other young and older lesbians across the continent who have been raped, stoned to death or otherwise violently attacked and killed, and often infected with HIV
• to the fact that every six seconds a woman is raped in South Africa, often motivated by the suspicion of an “unruly” sexuality and the claim that she was “asking for it”.
We are outraged by the growing use of old and new homophobic legislation against lesbian, bisexual and transgender African women, which violates the basic principles of human rights.
We believe that the continuing silence and inaction breeds legitimacy and further violent and lethal attacks against lesbians, bisexual and transgender women.
As citizens of European, African and North American countries,
• we call upon our governments and elected representatives to do everything in their power to ensure that the human rights of African lesbians are respected and to commit to ending this epidemic of violence against them.
• we request that governments and private donors earmark funds to support lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups in Africa to resist and educate against this violence; and to provide treatment, care and support for HIV+ women from these communities.
• we call on the African mainstream media to stop the sensationalisation and slander against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, and to report on these issues in a responsible manner.
• we call upon our fellow human rights, HIV/AIDS, African Diaspora, women’s and lesbian and gay organisations to join us in solidarity and to speak out against these abuses.
We call for and end to all forms of violence against women.
We affirm the right of all people to a dignified life free of discrimination and abuse.
Berlin, September 24, 2006
FEW, Forum for the Empowerment of Women, Johannesburg, South Africa
GLAD, Gays and Lesbians of African Descent, Toronto, Canada
ZAMI, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Meeting Place and Resource Center for Black Women. Zurich, Switzerland
WGNRR, Women s Network for Reproductive Rights, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
JOLIBA, International Network, Berlin, Germany