ahrc sexual minority rights 2021 web

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a one-week intensive short course on sexual minority rights from 22 to 26 February 2021.

Course date: 22 – 26  February 2021
Venue: Online (Zoom)

Download programme

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Important: COVID-19 information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current restrictions, all courses will be conducted in a virtual format. Participants are therefore required to have access to a stable internet connection. The Centre for Human Rights will however review the situation from time to time and will advise applicants on the resumption of contact sessions.

About the course

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Sexual Minority Rights in Africa is a short course that introduces participants to basic SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics) concepts and a thematic and geographical exposition of challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ 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 LGBTIQ+ persons in realising basic human rights in many African societies. Participants get to understand ways they can contribute to advancing the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons, especially at the national level. Participants typically include academics, police officers and magistrates (who often lack basic knowledge and are often accused of abusing LGBTIQ+ persons); and NGOs that do not work on sexual minority rights issues or that have only recently begun to do so and need capacity building. They may also include National Human Rights Institutions that can play an important role in countries where national governments are unsympathetic to LGBTIQ+ issues.

The Centre for Human Rights also hosts a capacity building workshop on sexual minorities in Africa, a more technical course designed to train LGBTIQ+ 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 workshop 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 workshop is interactive and includes practical exercises where 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 for the workshop typically include LGBTIQ+ activists and human rights defenders in general who, at least, have some experience of working at the national level. More information on applying for this workshop will be published on the Centre's website in due course.

Course content

The programme may contain elements of the following themes:

  • 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 LGBTIQ+ movement, the 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 LGBTIQ+ persons (sodomy laws, and the application of criminal law);
  • Sexual minority rights under international law (ICCPR; Toonen case; Yogyakarta Principles; are LGBTIQ+ persons ‘minorities’ under international law);
  • Domestic legal provisions affecting LGBTIQ+ 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;
  • EU / Council of Europe and LGBTIQ+ Rights;
  • Other international (UN) law and sexual minorities


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on travel and global lockdowns, the course will be offered online on Zoom.

Participation in the course therefore FREE of charge.


Since the course is FREE, scholarships are no longer applicable.

Application procedure

Please note: Applications closed on 8 February 2021.

Important Notice:
A high proficiency in English is required to attend this course. All lectures and materials are in English. Prior to applying for this course, please read through the information on the practical Information and the payment details pages.

Documents to be submitted:

  • Curriculum Vitae (short CV in PDF or Word document, maximum 3 pages, maximum 10 MB in file size)
  • One Letter of Recommendation (PDF or Word document, maximum 10 MB in file size)
  • Academic Records (students only) (combined in one PDF or Word document, maximum 10 MB in file size)

* Please note that in order to apply for any of the Advanced Human Rights Courses, you are required to use a Google Gmail account.

Application deadline

Applications closed on 8 February 2021.

Overview of previous courses

  • 2021


    The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC) and the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP) recently hosted the 2021 edition of its annual short course on
    Read More
  • 2020


    The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC), in collaboration with the SOGIESC Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), recently hosted the annual short course on Sexual Minority Rights in Africa, from 24 to the 28 February
    Read More
  • 2019


    The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC) and the SOGIESC Unit are currently hosting the annual short course on Sexual Minority Rights in Africa. The maiden edition of the Pride & Letters Queer Literary Festival forms part of the week-long programme.
    Read More
  • 2018


    The Centre for Human Rights hosted the annual Advanced Human Rights Course on Sexual Minorities in Africa from 26 February 2018 to 2 March 2018 at the University of Pretoria, Hatfield campus. This course, which is sponsored by the Flemish
    Read More


For more information, please contact:

Dennis Antwi
Project Manager: Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC)

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4197
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743


Dr Ayodele Sogunro
Programme Associate: SOGIESC Unit

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3151
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743


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