Uphold sexual minority rights in the great lakes

by Human Rights First Rwanda Association
Bishop Tolton  preaching Love at the conference
Bishop Tolton preaching Love at the conference

The LGBTI Movement in Rwanda has made significant strides in the past decade. Rwnda is one of the few countries in the continent where Sexual Minority activities are not criminal. Since the deletion of the incriminating article on the LGBTI community in 2009 the community has grwn exponentially and activism for LGBTI rights has taken a new twist with the involvement of multiple stakeholders.

In this tone Human Rights First Rwanda Association and other likeminded organizations organized the first National LGBTI conference where Religeos leaders Media Business leaders and human rights defenders  etc were invited.

This was a breakthrough event for the LGBTI community in Rwanda where signifcant resolutions were made and commitment from all stakeholders in empowering and supporting the LGBTI movement in Rwanda. 

One highlight of the event wa the intrvention from the religeous leaders who welcomed the LGBTI community into their churches and congregations for them to achieve spiritual nourishment. 

Task Force Committee Members
Task Force Committee Members


Sexual Minority Rights in Rwanda as in the rest of Africa undergoes several forms of threats and challenges. There is a lot of stigma that is attached to sexual minority groups and they are not included in the mainstream agenda.

It was perceived that a network of multiple organizations can form a coalition of stakeholders that would comprise a taskforce in charge of specific issues concerning sexual minority groups in Rwanda.

These include :-

Members of the press to work on media and publicity ,

Researchers to compile data on LGBTI Rights in Rwanda ,

Advocacy on Registration ,

Inclusion in Religious matters as well as Economic Empowerment.

Members of the task force committee will specifically look into these areas and place their advocacy skills to the fore as they come up with valid recommendations regarding such matters such that inclusion of LGBTI persons and Sexual minority groups is realized.

It s desired that the task force will create an environent where the LGBTI community in Rwanda is included in all spheres of life.

Coalition on Sexua Minority Rights
Coalition on Sexua Minority Rights


Sexual minority groups across the world go through the same challenges.

 Stigma and discrimination non acceptance in the mainstream societies and churches are some of the most grievous hindrance to normal livelihood. Human Rights First Rwanda Association went ahead forge links with Local Network of NGO's and Churches Media andInternational actors from International Global Christa groups  which to advocate for acceptance and tolerance of sexual minority rights.

Human Rights First Rwanda Association was positioned in the task force that aims to support sexual minority organizations to be legally registered in Rwanda with the use of existing frameworks and Networks to uphold sexual minority rights.

It was realized that during the meeting that we would voluntarily advocate for the registration of NGO s and the acquisition of legal status.

Civil Society Participation on LGBTI Rights
Civil Society Participation on LGBTI Rights

Recognizing that Civil Society Organizations have a role to play in bridging the gap between policy formulation and implementation, Human Rights First Rwanda Association took to empower civil society organizations to advocate and lobby for the rights of Sexual Minority groups.

The overriding principles of non-discrimination and equality were emphasized and imparted to the participants.

It was agreed that the LGBTI persons should also take ownership of the advocacy strategies since it is them who feel the pinch of discriminatory practices and stigma. What Civil Society Organizations can do is compliment their advocacy endeavours and build their capacity.

Sexual minority rights remain a far fetched concept especially in the rural areas of Rwanda but with a concerted effort people may yet come to accept that sexual minority rights need to be respected.

LGBTI rights advocacy being illustrated.
LGBTI rights advocacy being illustrated.

In a bid to share best practices with likeminded advocates on LGBTI rights H.R.F.R.A organized a consultative meeting with a crossection of stakeholders all of whom had interests in upholding sexual minority rights within the region.

Members from the Civis Society, Journalists and lawyers graced this consultative meeting airing out their views on the strides reached in upholding the aforementioned rights as well as pointing out the existant gaps that these minorities face in their daily lives.

Key to note was the stigma that exists more so in the rural areas where persons belonging to the sexual minority subset who face major challenges of inclusivity and acceptance in the society. A concerted effort was called upon each stakeholder to defend these rights and create mass awareness to the wider community with the expectations that these negative mindets and perceptios may ultimately change.


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Organization Information

Human Rights First Rwanda Association

Location: Kigali - Rwanda
Project Leader:
Mbabazi Busingye
Kigali, Kigali Rwanda
$2,916 raised of $75,000 goal
69 donations
$72,084 to go
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