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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Nordic Rainbow Humanist Award goes to Malawi

The 2010 Nordic Rainbow Humanist award has gone to secretary general George Thindwa and his colleagues of the Association for Secular Humanism of Malawi for their "courageous public stand for LGBT identity and rights in this African nation, taking great risks of retaliation from homophobic politicians, religious leaders, and a hostile mass media", said Nordic Rainbow Humanists' international secretary Bill Schiller in Stockholm.

"This is the second time our annual award has gone to Africa and we were very pleased to have this recommendation from an earlier winner and staunch supporter of LGBT rights Leo Igwe of the Nigerian Humanist Movement.

"The Malawi Humanists are being honoured for defending LGBT rights in a continent where tolerance towards the LGBT communities is a rare exception and where even former African freedom fighters and anti-colonialist leaders, now in power, openly call for the imprisonment and punishment of LGBT people," said Schiller.

Earlier winners of the Nordic Rainbow Humanist award include George Broadhead (co-founder and long-serving secretary of the UK Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, who is also secretary of this blog's parent, the Pink Triangle Trust), veteran Norwegian lesbian activist Kim Friele, Carl-Johan Kleberg (former chairman of the Swedish Humanists), veteran Dutch gay activist Rob Tielman (former president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union), Leo Igwe and colleagues of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, and Remyus Cernea and colleagues of the Romanian Humanist Association.

In a message to George Thindwa, George Broadhead said, "Warm congratulations to Malawian Humanists on winning the 2010 Nordic Rainbow Humanist Award. If the situation for LGBT people is anything like as dire as that in Uganda, you richly deserve this for so courageously taking up the cudgels on their behalf. You also deserve great praise for your staunch opposition to the persecution of people in Malawi accused of witchcraft. As a gay Humanist who won this same award in 2002, I salute you."


Stuart Hartill said...

Yet another worthy winner, and another insight into the brave and valuable work done in less well known countries.
I wonder if we could take a leaf out of the church book here though. One thing even small town churches do well is 'twinning' with churches and parishes in small and developing world countries. Wouldn't it invigorate a lot of our local humanist groups to make some link with these projects, learn what can be done against incredible odds, offer them an encouraging word from another country in return and maybe spur ourselves on to try a bit harder back home?
I've tried (so far without success I have to admit) to suggest this to the elderly curmudgeons at my own local Victor Meldrew Society (sorry - 'humanist group'), but maybe others will have more luck.

Micky said...

It is a continent where many countries are amongst the most repressive in the world against their GLBT communities.

So it seems right that we should do all we can to recognise and support those small beacons of hope which have been ignited.