Rwanda update — UK Government engagement by the Network on behalf of the Rwandan LGBT+ & LGBTQ+ community

NOTE: Contacts have been made by the Network further to an email received by us from the FCDO Kigali Political Officer that indicated responses to our questions and support requests for the Rwandan LGBT+ & LGBTQ+ community (communications with the UK Government presence/BHC in Rwanda by our partnering organisation the HRFRA). We have weeks on received no contact back, as we anticipated.

Given the compelling particulars we attribute this unprofessional non-communication conduct by the UK Government’s representatives in Kigali as related to a) that government’s Home Office anti-LGBT ‘hostile environment’ being ruthlessly delivered, and b) that UK Government civil servants [Whitehall] public statements concerning UK Government support for LGBT human rights overseas, being at best disingenuous.

‘No response,’ ‘no communication’ is in fact a response and is a communication of realities at variance with government policy statements. We will of course be continuing with our initiative to through/with HRFRA support LGBT community members in Rwanda.

Almost a month on from providing an email directly addressed to the Foreign Commonwealth & Development (FCDO) / British High Commissioner in Kigali, concerning Network requests for UK Government support via the FCDO/BHC to the Rwandan LGBT+ & LGBTQ+ community, as an outcome of aspects of the LGBT+ Network for Change – Human Rights First Rwanda Association (HRFRA) MoU, we (nor those copied in to the communication, including our friends at HRFRA and the CEO of Stonewall) have not received a response.

This is very concerning given FCDO and Home Office statements on support for global LGBT human rights — especially in the context of Rwanda being a deportation of asylum seekers destination, many of whom have LGBT contexts, despite the country having a very poor LGBT+ & LGBTQ+ human rights and equality record.

Lead officers of our partnering organisation, the HRFRA, have last week had a meeting with BHC Kigali, in which they were provided with posts, names, and corresponding email addresses to provide to us for follow up on our questions and requests.

We are presently following up on this — giving a few further days for the courtesy of a reply to our original email, that as mentioned Stonewall are aware of — but are aware that contact, even a basic acknowledgment of receiving our email, should have been received (we doubt in the circumstances that except for the BHC – HRFRA meeting, we would have any communication back). And that this reflects not well to date on the FCDO (and by extension the UK Home Office) in regard to the disparity between departmental statements and actual action where LGBT human rights are concerned. We look forward to update soon once we have made the further contact referred to above.