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African Commission adopts landmark resolution on LGBT rights

Africa's peak human rights body has adopted a landmark resolution condemning violence and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons.

(Luanda, Angola) – Africa’s peak human rights body has adopted a landmark resolution condemning violence and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons.

In its Final Communiqué, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights announced that it had adopted a ‘Resolution on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the Basis of their Real or Imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity’.

‘This resolution – Resolution 275 – is historic, important and timely,’ said Clement Voulé, head of ISHR’s Africa programme.

‘It is historic because it marks the first time that the African Commission has pronounced itself on the topic of LGBT rights,’ Mr Voulé said.

‘It is important because it responds to a worsening incidence of discrimination and attacks against LGBT persons and LGBT rights defenders in many parts of Africa, much of which has been licensed by the passage of draconian “anti-homosexuality laws” in places like Uganda and Nigeria. It is also important because it rejects the spurious notion that LGBT rights are somehow “un-African”,’ said Mr Voulé.

‘And it is timely because it comes at at time when it is anticipated and hoped that the UN Human Rights Council will adopt a follow up to its first ever resolution on LGBT rights in 2011,’ Mr Voulé said.

‘With the African Commission leading the way, we now call on African States to demonstrate their commitment to the universal right to equality by supporting a resolution condemning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity at the Human Rights Council. The time has come for the UN’s peak body to mandate an independent expert or establish a process or procedure to monitor and report on violations against LGBT persons and to advise States as to how best to respect and protect their rights.’

‘ISHR warmly welcomes this resolution and congratulates the Commission, and those Commissioners who showed their personal commitment on this issue, on its adoption. We also acknowledge and thank the many committed and brave human rights defenders and organisations – including AMSHeR, the Coalition of African Lesbians, FIDH, HURISA, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, the West African Human Rights Defenders Network, the Human Rights Defenders Network in Central Africa (REDHAC), the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, and the NGO Forum Steering Committee, among many others – who have worked towards this resolution over many years,’ Mr Voulé said.

Contact: Clement Voulé, ISHR Head of Advocacy at the African Commission, on [email protected]

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