The Centre for Human Rights (Centre) Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Pan African International, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (PAN ILGA), held a side event on the practical steps to realising the Resolution on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Intersex Persons in Africa (Resolution 552) , on 19 October 2023 at the 79th session of the African Commission on Humana Peoples’(African Commission) Rights in Arusha. The side event was hosted under the umbrella of the African Civil Society Engagement (ACSE), a group of African Civil Society organisations working towards effective engagement with the African Commission.

 The side event was attended by over 40 participants, intersex and other queer rights activists from different organisations in Africa. The event started with an elaboration of the contents of Resolution 552 on the rights of intersex persons in Africa dwelling on the meaning of the Resolution for state and non-state actors, and the implications of the Resolution on intersex children. Thereafter, intersex activists shared their lived experiences and challenges the intersex community in Africa faces in enjoying their rights. Intersex activists and human rights defenders also discussed the challenging legal, political and social environment faced in Africa while doing their work. Participants further discussed the potential of Resolution 552 towards promoting and protecting the rights of intersex persons, specifically focusing on practical strategies and steps that can be taken to realise the aspirations in the Resolution. Participants and activists noted that while Resolution 552 has concerning language, where it terms intersex persons as ‘people who are born naturally with a chromosomal abnormality’ and that ‘intersexuality is an inherent handicap at birth’, its overall content in terms of obligations created for states and responsibilities for non-state actors has potential to change the legal, political and social environment towards greater protection and promotion of the rights of intersex persons and activist on the continent.

Resolution 552 on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Intersex persons in Africa was adopted on 7 March 2023 in line with the African Commission’s mandate under article 45 of the African Charter to interpret the rights in the Charter. The Resolution was adopted with the realisation that intersex persons in Africa face human rights violations in the form of unnecessary genital ‘normalising’ surgeries on minors, a lack of appropriate legal recognition and poor birth registration processes, discrimination in the justice system, infanticide, baby dumping and various forms of discrimination in other spheres of life.

Under the umbrella of ACSE, the Centre, also took part in two other side events focusing on deepening the understanding of the African human rights system for civil society organisations and on countering the increasing homophobic attacks in Africa. The two side events highlighted the need to enhance advocacy strategies to protect sexual and gender minorities in Africa using Resolution 552 and the Resolution on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations on the basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Resolution 275). The Centre and its partners in ACSE are committed to ensure the effective realisation of Resolutions 552 and 275 as tools for effective promotion and protection of the rights of sexual and gender minorities in Africa.

The Centre thanks PAN ILGA, ACSE and its supporting partner, the Kingdom of Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) for making the side event possible and a success.

For further information on the Trans Protocol, please contact:

Landilani Banda
Acting Project Manager: SOGIESC Unit

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4397

Mx Chanel van der Linde
Project Officer: SOGIESC Unit

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 3151


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