Human rights defender
Brigitte is a human rights defender from Senegal who focuses on LGBTI rights and the rights of women. She is the President of an organisation which focuses on the reduction of violence and the protection of human rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Recent activities of the organisation include human rights training for journalists to teach them about the role they can play for the security of the LGBTQI community, the strengthening of LGBTQI defenders, conducting a workshop on leadership for young LGBTI people and the revitalization of a LGBTQI network of Senegal and other Francophone countries in Africa.
Human rights violations in Senegal
The current environment in Senegal is very hostile towards the LGBTQI community and this hatred is greatly exacerbated by the political and religious leaders of the country. Because homosexuality is illegal in Senegal, most of the people in the LGBTI community keep their sexual orientation secret from their friends and relatives. Senegalese criminal law proscribes “unnatural” sexual acts as punishable with one to five years in prison. In addition, LGBTQI people in Senegal are victim of blackmailing, violence and torture. Even in their own community, LGBTQI people fear of being kicked out their houses after they are “discovered” as being gay.
Threats and harassment
Violence against the LGBTQI community in Senegal shows little sign of subsiding, notwithstanding mounting political pressure on Senegal from other States to adhere to its human rights obligations under international law. Brigitte has experienced numerous violent attacks first-hand and struggles to carry out the work of her organisation in such unsafe circumstances.