Welcome to the first issue of AMSHeR’s e-Newsletter.
Founded in 2009 AMSHeR is still growing and consolidating as a pan-African coalition of health and human rights organizations working to promote empowered healthy lives of MSM and Human Rights for all.
This year started off on a very sad note with the murder of our comrade, David Kato at his home in Uganda on the 26th of January. AMSHeR joined activists and organizations in Uganda and round the continent to condemn the murder and call on the Ugandan government to investigate, find those responsible and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. AMSHeR also used the opportunity to demand greater protection of LGBTI people from human rights violations.
We at AMSHeR are excited about 2011, we just held our third Membership Meeting on 5th – 9th of February 2011, in Maputo, Mozambique. This was an occasion for the Coalition Members to update each other on individual organization work and renew commitment to work together to achieve the coalition’s objectives. Updates included each organizations successes, challenges and programmes.
The meeting also gave AMSHeR the opportunity to rethink its role, and develop and adopt a five year strategic plan (2011 -2016) as well as a one year operational plan (1 May 2010 – 30 April 2011) that better suit this role. In this regards, AMSHeR developed and adopted four objectives out of the five constitutive objectives, and reframed its human rights advocacy from the “decriminalization of consensual same-sex practices” to the “ protection of consensual same-sex practicing adults from human rights violations” which better captured the reality and aspiration of African MSM.
Some Key activities that AMSHeR has set out to implement in 2011, include;
1. MSM Capacity for HIV and Health Response
To ensure community-centered HIV responses, African MSM advocates need to be informed, skilled, equipped, and supported in leading programmes to promote sexual health and access to HIV treatment and care. AMSHeR will work with MSM-led organizations and advocates throughout Africa, and in partnership with African MSM HIV service providers, to design and provide a training for African MSM about the fundamentals of community-centered HIV programming.
2. Human Rights Monitoring and Advocacy
African MSM face harsh legal and policy environments and practices that increase their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS through exclusion from health information and services, discrimination by service providers, undue harassment and arrest by law enforcement agencies, exposure to violence, and social and economic marginalisation. Advocacy is needed to redress these injustices, but advocacy must be based on evidence.
AMSHeR will work with organisations and advocates throughout Africa to document evidence related to legal and policy environments and practices that impede on MSM’s right to access HIV services, and work with its members and other partners to seek redress for those human rights violations.
3. Emergency Response and Contingency Mechanisms
Every year in every African region, national political and legal controversies about homosexuality and/or HIV, fuelled by sensationalist media and religious extremism, are threatening the lives of African gay men and threatening progress on health and human rights.
AMSHeR will have coalition-wide protocols and preparedness for regional back-up support and coordinated African communications and advocacy to respond to crisis whenever they occur that threaten lives of African gay men and/or threaten progress on health and human rights.
4. African Voices
African people need to tell their own stories to communicate and represent the multiple interlinked issues of health and rights in our lives.
AMSHeR will support a diverse range of African people to speak from their own perspectives, through a diversity of channels, to contribute a growing diversity of voices to the movement and represent the complex interlinked issues of health and human rights.
Thank you for supporting our work.
Joel Nana and the AMSHeR team