A group of New Yorkers gathered outside the South African Consulate in New York on Tuesday to demand an end to hate crimes against black lesbians in South Africa and protection for all LGBT people and those living with HIV/AIDS.

The vigil was in support of the 07/07/07 Campaign, a response by South African civil society to the killings of three South African lesbians in the last month and was called by Liberation for All Africans, a NYC-based diaspora LGBT group.

The vigil honoured the lives of Thokozane Qwabe, Sizakele Sigasa, Salome Masooa, Simangele Nhlapho, Madoe Mafubedu, Zoliswa Nonkonyana, Fannyann Eddy, Erelu Oludare Odumuye and all those who have died as a result of hate crimes and/or the lack of access to HIV medication and care.

Prior to the vigil, Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC’s Senior Specialist for Africa, along with Kele Nkhereanye of Liberation for All Africans and Nonhlahnla Mkhize, representing the South African LGBT movement, met with Ivan Vosloo, the Acting Consul of the Republic of South Afrrica.

The 07/07/07 Campaign has called for better training of South African police forces, better tracking of anti-LGBT hate crimes and official denouncement of the recent killings by the South African government.

Meanwhile, Behind the Mask reports that four suspects detained for the murder of Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa were released on Monday due to lack of evidence. According to police, the items found in the suspects’ possession did not match the items stolen from the murdered couple.

“I will not rest until the correct murderers have been arrested,” Investigating Officer Captain Wayne Ellapen told the website.

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