Human Rights Council 19 Session-Geneva
African Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender identity report on the High Commissioner for Human Rights Report
We African activists speak on behalf of the people throughout the continent who continually face persecution and violence on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We also speak in solidarity with the sentiments of the Women Living under Muslim Laws in their letter addressed to the President of the Human Rights Council.
We have received with joy the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that highlights the deplorable state of human rights for LGBTI people.
We commend the leadership of South Africa in opening dialogue around the human rights of people with non-conforming sexualities and identities. We urge Member States to take this opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue on this important issue.
The African continent has risen and continues to rise against oppressive structures like colonialism, apartheid, despotism and dictatorships. LGBTI persons however continue to experience oppression and violence that derive from:
- Archaic and barbaric colonial laws against adult consensual sex,
- Colonial Victorian ideas of morality disguised as African traditional values,
- Patriarchal notions of gender and gender expression,
- Religious fundamentalisms
- Strongly held social constructs that contradict the African values of Ubuntu, acceptance, peace and shared co-existence.
LGBTI persons in Africa continually face stigma and discrimination, harassment and arbitrary arrests, alienation from family and faith, lack of access to social services including health, justice, housing, education and dignified livelihoods. All these, despite African states being signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, particularly Article 2 and 3, and the AU values of equality and non-discrimination.
We as African LGBTI activists are not asking for any new or special rights , we urge you as our African states, to live up to your obligations under international and regional instruments and your own national constitutions; all of which recognise equality and non-discrimination for all persons.
We call upon our African states to end violence and discrimination against LGBTI citizens, abolish all discriminatory laws in existence. We call upon those states currently considering legislating such laws to cease. We call upon all African states to create legal and social environments conducive to the equal enjoyment of all rights for all citizens.