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Yahia Zaidi

Based in Geneva, Switzerland
Pronouns: He, his
Position: Advocacy Manager

Yahia Zaidi is a committed human rights activist and a specialist with extensive experience on LGBTI, HIV, Refugee issues. He has undertaken international advocacy, community building, strategy development, research, services and training at the local (Algeria and Morocco), regional (Middle East and Africa) and international levels.

Yahia Zaidi revived Abu-Nawas, an Algerian group for LGBT Rights. In 2005, together with other activists, Yahia established an HIV/AIDS prevention project for Men Having Sex with Men in Algeria. In 2007, he became the UNAIDS Focal Point on MSM issues.

Zaidi has given some consultancy and advice on funding and implementation strategy to several regional and international NGOs, including COC, Inter-LGBTI, IDAHO, RFSL, and FRI. He rebuilt Pan Africa ILGA, and served as Co-chair of its executive board 2012-2016. During that time PAI was registered and established as an NPO in South Africa. During his tenure 2 regional LGBTI conferences were hosted in Africa. PAI continues to thrive and he remains a valuable member and contributor. Through his co-chairmanship of PAI he was able to represent the Africa region on the ILGA World Board and served as Co-secretary General Alternate on ILGA’s World Executive Board. Yahia co-founded MantiQitna Network, the only regional LGBTI-led advocacy organization from the MENA region. He was at the forefront of UN advocacy toward the adoption of resolutions on SOGI in 2014, 2016 and 2019 representing both PAI and MantiQitna, and twice collected the largest number of signatories to civil society joint statements in the history of the Human Rights Council.

Yahia also worked as a social worker in the area of asylum. In Belgium, where he lived previously, he co-founded OMNIA, an association of immigrants from the MENA region living in Belgium who fight against homophobia among migrants from the MENA region. His latest position was the Manager of the MENA regional platform on communication and coordination created by the Global fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and hosted by civil society in order to ensure effective participation of key populations at all levels of national responses to HIV/Tuberculosis and Malaria.

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