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Sexual Minority Rights course

Course date: 19 - 23 February 2018

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a one-week intensive short course on sexual minority rights from 19 to 23 February 2018.

Room 2-67, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria Main Campus


General Representation of the Government of Flanders

Partner institution(s)

  • University of Leuven
  • AMSHeR
  • SOGIE unit
  • Centre for sexualities, Aids & Gender


About the course

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Sexual Minorities in Africa introduces participants to basic SOGIE concepts and a thematic and geographical exposition of challenges faced by LGBTI persons in Africa. This course is designed for people who wish to obtain basic / introductory information, an understanding of the terminology and a general appreciation of the problems faced by LGBTI persons in realising basic human rights in many societies. Participants are helped to understand ways in which they can make a contribution to advancing the rights of LGBTI persons, especially at national level. The course focuses strongly on strategies for litigation and advocacy / lobbying at national level. Participants typically include academics; police officers and magistrates (who often lack basic knowledge and are often accused of abusing LGBTI persons); NGOs which do not work on sexual minority rights issues, for example, or who have only recently begun to do so and need capacity building. They may also include National Human Rights Institutions, which are neither civil society organisations nor government departments and who can play an important role in countries where national governments are unsympathetic to LGBTI issues.

The Centre for Human Rights also presents a second course on Sexual Minorities in Africa and is a more technical course, designed to train LGBTI activists on how to engage with the African Union and United Nations human rights bodies - understanding the history, composition and working of these supra-national bodies, as well as how to bring cases / communications before these bodies. The course examines case law as well as legal and political strategies used in the past. This helps participants formulate their own strategies and develop networks. The course is interactive and includes practical exercises, in which participants receive training on the processes and procedures of AU and UN human rights bodies. They are also able to share experiences and inspire each other. Participants typically include LGBTI activists and human rights defenders in general, who at least have some experience of working at the national level. More information on this second course will be published on the Centre's website in due course.

The programme may contain the following elements:

  • Conceptual clarification of the terms ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘transgender’  and ‘intersex’ (the origin of these and other related terms and their influence);
  • Bio-medical data on homosexuality, and its interpretation;
  • HIV and the emergence of ‘men-who-have-sex-with-men’ (MSM), MSM and the LGBTI movement, risk of HIV infection to lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered and intersex persons;
  • African tradition/culture and homosexuality (the ‘unAfrican’ debate, anthropological perspectives on homosexuality in traditional Africa);
  • The approach to homosexuality of the major religious traditions (Christianity, Islam);
  • Public opinion on sexual minority rights: media, popular culture and literature in Africa and sexual minority rights;
  • A typology of human rights violations of sexual minorities in African states (attempts to address them ; reasons for violations);
  • Criminal law and LGBTI persons (sodomy laws, and the application of criminal law);
  • Sexual minority rights under international law (ICCPR; Toonen case; Yogyokarta Principles; are LGBTI persons ‘minorities’ under international law);
  • Domestic legal provisions affecting LGBTI persons in African states (eg criminalisation of same-sex relations);
  • Strategies and best practices of litigation to vindicate the rights of sexual minorities (the role of civil society organs, media etc);
  • Current case law development in African states (Uganda, Kenya and Malawi).
  • EU / Council of Europe and LGBTI Rights
  • Other international (UN) law and sexual minorities

Violence - Based on perceived or real sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa



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