Despite Namibia taking several progressive measures to promote and protect human rights, the country continues to enforce repressive laws that infringe on the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, commercial sex workers and other vulnerable groups.
(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.
During its 76th session and in a move welcomed by civil-society, the Third Committee of the GA adopted by consensus a resolution recognising the rights of all people to participate in elections and public affairs, without discrimination, including on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Following a rise in the use of platforms to dehumanise persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity and foster intolerance, the UN Independent Expert presents two reports from complementary angles.
During the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, civil society expressed concern and condemnation about an anti LGBTI bill in Ghana, while the second joint government statement on the rights of intersex persons was delivered on behalf of 52 States.
LGBTQ communities in Namibia and those defending their rights remain targeted, suffering various forms of discrimination, stigmatisation and violence. It is time for the Namibian government to take action and decriminalise same-sex sexual relations, revise laws discriminating against, and take measures to address violence in, LGBT communities.
This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.
In the first case on violence against trans people heard by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Court held Honduras responsible for the transfemicide of human rights defender Vicky Hernández.
ISHR, along with 23 organisations, highlight attacks and targeting of trans and gender diverse defenders; the Independent Expert on SOGI examines the construction of gender in international law, a Group of Friends of the mandate of the Independent Expert is formed; and 27 States call on the Council to urgently protect the human rights of trans people.
10 years after the first SOGI resolution was passed at the Council, 27 States launch the Group of Friends of the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Tess McEvoy from ISHR and Gabriel Galil from ILGA World tell the story.
It's difficult to encapsulate such a complex year in a word, but "interconnected" is one that comes to mind when reflecting on 2020. We are proud to have remained deeply interconnected with defenders and to have supported, protected and amplified their work at the national, regional and international levels. With them, the "essential workers" of our times, we strive for a 2021 full of freedom, equality, dignity and justice.
Operating in a context of persistent insecurity and aggravated by the Covid19 crisis, human rights defenders in Burkina Faso are exposed to many risks. The law on the protection of defenders and its implementing decree were adopted in 2018, but its implementation and use remain a challenge for defenders.
In a context where Egyptian police routinely prosecute and arrest LGBTIQ+ people by using fabricated charges such as “immorality”, “incitement to immorality”, “misuse of social media” and “belonging to terrorist groups”, ISHR joined human rights organisations in calling on the Egyptian government to immediately stop arresting or detaining individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. No one should face discrimination, intimidation or imprisonment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; and to ensure a safe and enabling environment for civil society organisations to work freely to serve this community.