The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP) recently hosted the 2024 edition of the annual short course on Sexual Minority Rights in Africa. The course was presented through both virtual and physical sessions from 19 to 23 February 2024 and was attended by over 90 participants with 13 presenters from both across and outside Africa. Participants included LLM/MPhil students in both the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) and the Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA) Masters programmes in the Faculty of Law, UP. Other participants included researchers, academics, judicial officers, government workers, officials of selected National Human Rights Institutions, and members of civil society.

The course provided a forum for participants to understand issues on sexual orientation, gender identities, sex characteristics, and sexuality and to engage in thought-provoking conversations on protecting and promoting the rights of sexual and gender minorities in Africa. Prof Nkatha Murungi (Acting Director of the Centre) offered a welcoming address, introducing the Centre to the audience, and highlighted the importance of the short course. Chanel van der Linde and Naledi Mpanza (Projects officers at the Centre) introduced different concepts of gender and sexual diversities. Prof Mzikazi Nduna debunked the myths of heteronormativity and took the participants through the fluidity of sexuality and expression. Professor Charles Ngwena (Centre) provided perspectives on the Africaness of diverse gender and sexual identities.

Dr Osogo Ambani (Dean: School of Law, Kabarak University, Kenya) and Lakshita Kanhinya (Advocacy and campaign officer, Pan African Africa ILGA) discussed the role played by religion in regulating sexual minority rights in secular states. Professor Anton Kok (Department of Jurisprudence, UP) offered a case study on the reality of discrimination and hate crimes. The presentation was followed by Thiruna Naidoo (Africa project office: Outright International) who spoke on the legal protection of SOGIE-related rights and the challenge of violence against lesbian, bisexual and queer women. Dr Anastacia Tomson (Medical Doctor: Author and Transgender activist) provided insights into the lived experiences of the Transgender communities. 

Dr Geraldine Reymenants, General Representative of the Government of Flanders in Southern Africa, who is the main donor for the course, highlighted the support of the Government of Flanders for human rights and equal opportunities in Africa and CSOs working in these areas. Dr David Ikpo (Post-doctoral fellow at the Centre) provided insights on the use of film and storytelling as a tool for advocacy on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa and thereafter Yves Aerts (General Coordinator, Cavaria) presented a lecture on the European civil society perspectives on SOGIESC advocacy. Dr Landilani Banda (Manager of the SOGIESC Unit at the Centre) spoke about the impact of criminalisation, HIV and access to health services for LGBTIQ+ people in Africa and was followed by Dr Ayodele Sogunro (Sexual rights lawyer at ISLA and post-doctoral fellow at the Centre) who introduced Resolution 275 and focused on 10 years of its implementation.

Dr Adrian Jjuuko (Executive Director, Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, Uganda) facilitated the discussion on strategic litigation and advocacy that had aided the recent decriminalisation of same-sex sexual practices, and effectively of same-sex relationships. Delphine (SIPD, Uganda) provided insight into the human rights situation of intersex persons in Africa. Dr Landilani Banda presented the findings of the Report on the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in South Africa, Belgium and France and the day ended with the screening of the documenatry and panel discussion on the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in the three countries.

Prof Frans Viljoen (Professor at the Centre) started the last day of the course with a discussion on sexual minority rights and the politics of the African human rights system. Dr Mariel Reiss (post-doctoral fellow at Phillips-University, Marburg) provided a perspective on LGBTQ+ norms and rights discourse with a focus on Kenya. Mandipa Machacha (Regional advisor, Amnesty International) ended the course presentation by taking the participants through strategies for countering the anti-rights movements in Africa.  

The course ended with the presentation of certificates by Dennis Antwi (Manager, Advanced short course at the Centre) with Dr Lnadilani Banda making the concluding remarks on behalf of the Centre and thanking everyone for their participation.

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

Landilani Banda
Acting Project Manager: SOGIESC Unit

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4397
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743


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