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Christina Fonthes is a young, gifted woman already helping make Manchester a better place. She runs Manchester group Rainbow Noir for LGBT+ people of colour, and is a tireless campaigner for LGBT+ and civil rights. However her life might now be in danger, friends and colleagues claim, after a family holiday to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) turned nasty.
Chris, who identifies as a lesbian, is currently trapped in the DRC after her mother and aunt held her captive at her aunt’s home. Chris’ family has decided she should be ‘cured’ of her sexuality, putting her life at risk. They allegedly took her passport and return ticket, preventing her from leaving the country.
According to friends, Chris has managed to escape her aunt’s home, but needs protection from the British Embassy in the Congo until she can fly home on 2 September – a full five days away.
A message from Rainbow Noir
Chloe Cousins, one of Christina’s fellow organisers at Rainbow Noir, wrote to us to share the following message:
URGENT PLEASE READ AND FORWARD ON!!!!!
I regret to tell you that Christina Fonthes – a dear friend and organiser of Rainbow Noir has been held against her will in The Congo – she was on a family holiday with her mother who has decided to have Christina ‘cured’ of her sexuality.
Christina has managed to escape from her aunt’s house and is currently hiding out with a friend. She has access to internet and has been communicating with us via email. The next available flight is 2nd September – 5 days away!
Chris needs help and protection from the British Embassy in Congo but her mother has reported her missing and therefore we need to get in contact with both the UK Home Office and UK embassy in Congo to let them know that she is in danger and that her mother is lying/the one endangering her life!!
PLEASE SHARE THIS ON ALL YOUR NETWORKS. CALL, EMAIL, TWEET the British embassy on behalf of Christina – the more we call, the more attention it will bring to her case and hopefully they will act quicker in getting Christina to a safe place.
CHRISTINA’S LIFE IS IN DANGER. PLEASE DO AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
UK EMBASSY: 0871 050 5840
DETAILS OF THE EMBASSY IN CONGO ARE HERE: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-kinshasa
You can tweet the embassy at @UKinDRC.
Update – 4.16pm, Thursday 28 August 2014
Following a campaign on Twitter and Facebook, supported by phone calls and emails to the Home Office and MPs, friends report that Christina has made contact with the British Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is now seeking emergency travel documents and support with flights home.
Chloe Cousins contacted us to add the following:
We have heard from a contact in The Congo at the British Embassy and from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office that Christina is at the Embassy in Congo and is seeking advice on getting legal advice, emergency travel documents and flights etc. Her mother is still holding her passport at this time – despite this being illegal we do not know what the authorities are doing about this – she has already been bribing them for her safety which is an indicatoin as to where their priorities/morals lie.
We have not heard directly from Christina yet so we cannot rest at this moment or give up until we have had confirmation from her that she is safe. I don’t think that we can trust this information even if it is coming from officials until we have heard from her.
Hopefully this is true and she is in a safe place and in the process of getting a flight home.
We will keep you updated.
Please share this and keep your support going.
The Twitter # is #ChrisFonthes if you would like to keep tweeting.
Thank you all again, the support has been outstanding.
Campaigners such as Aderonke Apata and poet Cheryl Martin have supported the campaign to get Christina home safely. Her friends have asked that people continue to show their support until she returns safely to Manchester.