On 23 June 2022, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the ‘Centre’) hosted a roundtable discussion for alumni of its Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Litigation and Advocacy for LGBTIQ+ Human Rights Defenders in Africa. The workshop is the Centre’s annual event designed to assist LGBTIQ+ activists in Africa to effectively promote and protect LGBTIQ+ rights through domestic, regional, and international level strategic litigation and advocacy using African-specific approaches. The annual workshop is targeted at experienced activists in Africa who want to build on their capacity, develop their skills, and network with activists from other parts of Africa. The workshop seeks to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in Africa so that they can better pursue legal challenges and advocate on behalf of LGBTIQ+ individuals at risk of or who have suffered serious violations of human rights under domestic African laws. The workshop also aims to have participants think through and develop autochthonous, African-specific ways of advocacy and strategic litigation, and learn from each other about the challenges of filing cases at domestic courts.
The first roundtable discussion featured previous workshop participants from the 2019 to 2021 editions of the workshop with workshop alumni from Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The discussion was opened by Prof Frans Viljoen who welcome participants and re-introduced the Centre. The roundtable discussion then kicked off with participants reflecting on their experiences since attending the workshop and their ability to use strategic litigation for their advocacy projects across Africa. The workshop alumni also reflected on challenges faced while utilising strategic litigation as an advocacy strategy and lastly, provided recommendations for any practical changes that can be effected to the workshop programme.
In reflecting on their experiences since attending the workshop, participants thanked the Centre for equipping them with skills to continue defending human rights using African-specific approaches in their respective countries. The workshop provided activists with an opportunity to build strategic partnerships and as such activists are now able to work with others in sharing knowledge on LGBTI+ human rights advocacy. Some noted that the workshop was an excellent introduction to Resolution 275 and its implementation guidelines. In general, the workshop was an excellent opportunity to educate and provide insight on LGBTI+ issues in different countries throughout the African region. Nevertheless, it was noted that activists still face setbacks and that violations against communities are still continuing across Africa.
Recommendations for future workshops included making available the workshop presentations and literature in an accessible format for other activists that may not have been able to attend the workshop and enabling workshop participants to attend other continuous learning events by the Centre.
Dr Ayo Sogunro, Manager for the SOGIESC Unit, and facilitator of the discussion noted all the recommendations made and thanked everyone for being part of the roundtable discussion before closing the event.
For more information, please contact: