Friday, 7 June 2019

JUNE 16 2019 “Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First”

RIA reiterates   that   the   physical and psychological safety of children is key to their health and future prospects. Where   this   safety   is   threatened,   their   rights and needs are ignored. Children who are affected include adolescents, females, refugees,  and  displaced  children,  children  in  armed  conflict,  tension  and  strife.  As  such, the first step towards the promotion and  protection  of  this  safety  lies  in  the  application  of  international  human  rights  law in humanitarian situations.  The  requirement  to  protect  and  to  ensure  the  protection  of  the  rights  of  the  child,  calls  for  the  use  of  international  human  rights  law  as  the  measure  of  first  resort  in  a  humanitarian  crisis.  Reliance  on  human  rights  law  as  captured  in  the  African  Children’s  Charter,  for  example,  offers  protection  of  children  affected  by  conflict, crises and humanitarian situations, and  protection  in  other  situations.  This  is  because  human  rights  standards  give  rise  to  legal  obligations  that  are  generally  valid  at  all  times  and  in  all  situations,  including during humanitarian crises. Thus, the  application  of  humanitarian  law  is  a  complementary  tool  to  the  protection  of  children’s rights in humanitarian contexts. The universally recognized humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and  independence  are  themselves  linked  to  the  core  principles  of  children’s  rights,  particularly  the  right  to  life,  survival  and  development,  non-discrimination,  and  the  best interests of the child.  The  requirement  to  place  children’s  rights  first  is  an  indication  that  where  there  is  an  obligation,  the  requisite  body  or  individual  must  fulfil  such  an  obligation  in  the  interests  of  the  child  or  children  concerned.  This  is  a  restatement  of  the  need  to  uphold  the  best  interests  of  the  child at all times.   Placing   children’s   rights   first   is   a   recognition  of  the  principle  in  Article  4(1)  of  the  Children’s  Charter  that  should  be  interpreted broadly to incorporate all actions that directly or indirectly affect children.  The best  interests’  principle  ought  to  be  used  as a “gap filling” tool that is used to ensure that  the  child  whose  rights  are  violated  in  a  humanitarian  crisis  are  subsequently  recognized and protected by the world.

Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children’s Rights First the best interest of the child.  This should be evaluated through the tools used to re-integrate the children who are affected by the humanitarian crisis. Closely linked to the child’s right to life, survival and development is the  right  to  health. Humanitarian crises affect children’s health not only physically, but mentally and psychologically as well. States needs to pay attention  to  the  health  needs  of  children,  even  and  especially  during  humanitarian  crises,   and   respond   to   their   survival   needs. Attention should also be paid to the health needs of children based on gender differences.  For example, adolescent girls in humanitarian crises may have sanitation and/or   menstruation   as   well   as   sexual   and reproductive health needs (including sexually   transmitted   diseases)   that   are   different from the needs of other affected children.  Also of great importance to children’s survival      and      development      during      humanitarian crises is the right to education. RIA  affirms  the  importance  of  securing  education  for  children  regardless  of   context.   Access   to   education   and   learning   helps   children   cope   with   the   trauma of humanitarian disasters, enabling them to build resilience and provides them with some form of stability. What do children want in times of emergency and crisis? They want an education,  focused  on  children’s  development,  able  to  prepare  children  for  preventing  and  dealing  with  or   responding   to   humanitarian   crises,  equipping  them  equipping  them  with  practical  skills  to  enhance  their  protection  and  survival. We call the government of Botswana  to  have  strategies  in  place  to  ensure  children  can  continue  to  access  education during humanitarian crises if they arise. ‘Children’s rights first’ underscores the interconnectedness of all children rights whether during or outside of humanitarian crises.  Like  the  Charter  (and  the  global  United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child – CRC), Agenda 2030 recognizes the    interdependence    of    rights    and    underscores  the  importance  of  the  goals  to  the  development  of  children.  Through  the  adoption  of  a  rights-based  approach  to   sustainable   development,   children’s   rights  are  highlighted  as  the  pivot  around  which  State  action  towards  development  should  revolve.  This  approach  increases  monitoring   and   improves   accountability   of  governments  towards  the  realization  of  children’s  rights  in  connection  to  Agenda  2030 goals.32.    Similarly,    it    is    important    for    all    stakeholders, including those working in separate   fields   of   development,   policy,   and human rights, etc.  To work together and ensure a cohesive and comprehensive response   to   humanitarian   crises   rather   than working in silos. 

With all this having been said, it is vital that we as RIA remind the public on the Hands of Our Genitals campaign which is aimed at protecting intersex children from the health risks and permanent damage caused by surgeries done on them at birth to “normalize” their sex and fit them in a box.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019


My name is Phio Kenosi I was born to a jolly woman who, bless her soul, did not know that she was having a headache for a child. When I was a kid I am reported to have hated anything remotely feminine with a passion to the extent that drinking out of the same cup as a girl gave me the hibbies and I thought girls had cooties, so you see problem child. I played with “boys” toys and until recently mom didn’t know I gave my cousin my Barbie doll when we were kids in exchange for a goblin and gargoyle action figure. All my best friends were all boys, still are to this day and everything made sense in that way, I just knew I wasn’t a girl and had no real concept of anything else.

I have lived an interesting life, I was allowed to express myself after they grew tired of trying to “doll” me up. The perfect ‘daughter dare I say, once they saw that wasn’t going to work we sort of just decided that I understood what felt good on my skin and society hadn’t peeped in to who I was yet and therefore I was deemed acceptable because of my childhood. I could wear pants in Church and at funerals which was and still is considered a taboo [insert face palm and eye roll emoji], without realizing it I was privy to a space I would slowly be expelled from simply on the base that I did not agree with their notion of what it meant to be someone in particular.

When society decided I must leave my childhood whiles behind and join the big people’s table in  all honesty I was not expecting it. I was still for the most part a child and I still am said child, who knew nothing about this person I was supposed to be. I was to start wearing dresses to Church and funerals, at family events I couldn’t go gather firewood with the other boy cousins, I was not allowed to handle power tools and I couldn’t take part in activities I previously enjoyed, I was now dainty and delicate. The people made a decision for me about who I am at this point and I was to bend to this will, the most insulting part of this was when the charades started no one came to explain anything to me, to explain why they thought the world ought to work the way they were suggesting.

It was at this point that I started to question God, I mean why make me different only to try and beat it out of me? Try and make me suffer for the fact that the brain and the body did not correlate? Try to take away that which was not singular in thought process as its world? I decided that god was not my friend, not only because he was not replying my texts (Prayers), but also because his representatives seem to all want to prove that ‘God’ made no mistakes and yet I was still classified as a mistake. My mother wanted so hard to help because she did not understand, at first  they all thought it was a phase, then trauma hit me and they thought it was that and then they thought that I was bewitched (of which I do not believe in). They listened to the naysayers, the charlatans and all the weird, toxic and harmful messaging that demonized me before them and therefore led to this culmination of what and who I am in regards to religion and society.

I remember once my mother asked me to go to church with her, at this point I did things to please them and get them off my back. It was all so heavy on my soul but I did it anyway in the name of benevolence and family honor. This man calling himself the man of god and preaching out of someone's backyard, under a tent that could seemingly collapse at any time, held up by poles and the floor littered with mats which were a collection from people’s houses all for them to gather and listen to a man ordained by the church in South Africa, with his ever pleasing Sotho accent. My mother had tried to explain our situation to him, he called us up to the middle of the circle and he proceeded to tell me that I had a demonic spirit of a bull, that I was stubborn and I needed to be delivered from this spirit to which he continued to force my body to the floor with about 3 other strong armed men, he blew into my face and proceeded to call out the demon in me. Looking back now it seems much like an outer body experience because I remember thinking to myself, this can’t be right and only one scripture was in my head at this point, “God is Love and he who does not know love does not know God” John something. It felt like I was being attacked and therefore it hurt me fundamentally, down to my core. I must add that I had flu for the whole week after that.

In my current state I am non-religious and yet I still have nightmares about the church, every time I cough I keep thinking of that one man that told me hell was my portion, there is deep scarring even for those around me. Imagine hearing this as a parent, the amount of panic that ensues in your brain when you’ve been hoping to save your child from the clutches of the devil. Being told your family is cursed with such a spirit and that it dates back to times of ancient instead of rationalizing you proceed to panic further. We will never be over this time and I will not lie and say that I have fully forgiven, the cold sweats at night and demons I see when I close my eyes say otherwise because there are more stories where these came from.

I am tired though, I wish to never have explain myself to anyone ever again and I am getting there, and there is hope in my bones still. When I went to varsity I was the happiest little gay child you ever did see. I found other gay people and watched a lot of gay content online, I connected to online communities and I stayed awkward. I have open honest conversations with my parents about all the things I know of myself, I am still piecing myself together but I am not afraid to share this with others.

I remember I was on YouTube going through my list of Queer content creators one time and I came across a black Non Binary, Asexual content creator, talking about all these things that I knew myself to be, they helped me put words to feelings I was having have been having instead of just saying I’m not a girl and people assuming that that means I am a boy it also meant that I could exist in this blank space. I am a research body and so I decided to research all the ways one could exist in this space. People say there is western influence and the truth is we just didn’t have the words to say this is who we are and now they’re here so we use them. We also never had people that look like us, living their truth and telling us that its ok to exist in this manner and as we are and when I saw that this person existed and I listened to them and things made sense to me I knew I was home and I was not alone.

I had always known who I was it made others uncomfortable, people being confused means they try to silence you and take away your individual stake in the world. There is a song by Wrebel it’s called The Village and the depiction of it is that there is a boy who is trapped in these circumstance where he can’t be himself but he becomes himself in the end and there is a statement that struck a chord with me they say “There is nothing wrong with you, it’s true, There’s something wrong with the village” I still cry to this day when I hear this song because I will forever agree with this statement. I will also shout it from the rooftops for anyone who needs to hear it. In case you missed it my name is Phio Kenosi and I am a Trans Non-Binary individual who believes we can fix the village and there’s nothing wrong with me and others like me.

Friday, 17 May 2019



To: All Media Houses


Every year the global community of sexual and gender minorities identifies one specific focus issue for the celebrations around May 17th which is IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia Transphobia and Biphobia). This year, the proposal is to focus attention on JUSTICE AND PROTECTION FOR ALL. Indeed, everyone is entitled to justice and protection regardless of their gender identity, expression, sex and sexuality. We all need to keep advocating for the protection and justice for the LGBTIQ, especially when we need to ensure safety, fight violence, lobby for legal change, and/or campaign to change hearts and minds. Putting the focus of the Day on Justice and protection for all can create a valuable opportunity for all of us to reach out to the our communities, legal and justice system and relevant authorities like the police on emphasis of the protection of these key populations and vulnerable groups, and to engage in collective action around the Day.

Rainbow Identity Association (RIA) commemorates this day every year, however this year RIA will be commemorating it on the 18th of May in Kanye and would like the community and entire country to commemorate this day with them. RIA is a non-profit making organization based in Gaborone Botswana. It is an association of intersex and transgender people (Trans-women,Trans-men, queer gender, gender questioning, transsexuals and non- conforming gender). The organisation aims at exploring ways of challenging trans-phobic laws and trans-phobia in Botswana.

RIA prides itself in advocating for the voices of Trans and intersex people to be heard through sport and gender, community outreach, all forms of media and more. RIA has been operating for almost 10 years and has done great work and still is and would like the support of the entire country in celebrating diversity and the lives both lost and ongoing LGBTIQ community. Before we have gender identity, expression and sex we are human being and it is up to us human being to live in harmony by finding peaceful ways to co-exist and one of those ways is ensuring justice and protection for all. RIA can only do so much and needs the support and solidarity of the nation to successfully execute this because “setshwarwa ke ntsa pedi gase thata “ ebile “moroto o esi ga o ele

This focus should also be a welcome reminder of the need for protection within the communities of sexual and gender minorities, as the rights of one specific group cannot be secured if the rights of other groups are left unchallenged. The focus on protection and justice should also highlight the necessity for sexual and gender minorities to push for the protection of other vulnerable groups (e.g. migrants, people living in poverty, vulnerable children, etc.).
The commemoration will take place in Kanye spear headed by Bobela Stas; a Kanye youth LGBTIQ led movement that was formed 2 years ago. There will be a march from Mahube mall to BG mall and then after the march they will be a key note speaker who is a member of Kanye council and then solidarity massages from other organisations, on discrimination and stigma and map the inter-sectionality with stakeholders to ensure ending violence and inequality against different diverse communities and lobby for legal reform as a collective.