Editor’s Note: This message was originally published by Refugee Law Project on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 8:52hrs.
In an age of supposed globalization, access to platforms intending to promote social change is often denied to the very activists who are driving such change. Generally it is activists and academics from the global south who are unable to participate in events organized in the global north.
In November 2017, Onen David, Programme Manager of Refugee Law Project’s Gender & Sexuality Programme, was set to participate in the third South-South Institute on Sexual Violence against Men and Boys which was held in Christchurch, Aotearoa (New Zealand). The Institute, hosted by Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, focused on the relationship between histories of colonization and the realities of post-colonial sexual abuse.
Following the failure of the New Zealand immigration authorities to issue a visa in time for his travel to participate in the Institute (which he himself was part of establishing), Onen David was obliged to restrict his participation to sending this video message to the participants.
Aime Moninga, President of Men of Hope, a unique self-help support group of male refugee survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, was also blocked from participating. In his case, the New Zealand immigration authorities refused to issue him a visa to travel, despite the fact, as a refugee, he held a valid Convention Travel Document.
Though he was unable to travel in person, the participants in Aotearoa were thus denied his unique insights into the realities of conflict-related sexual violence against men, Aime kindly prepared this video message to the participants.
Refugee Law Project is proud of the contribution that the Institute has made to building momentum around the issue of sexual violence against men and boys, and looks forward to welcoming the fourth South-South Institute back to Uganda in 2019. We trust that nobody will have challenges getting a visa!