Venue: Southern Sun Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Date: 24 – 25 November 2022
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is convening a conference to bring together activists and scholars working on the protection and promotion of LGBTIQ+ rights in Africa for a dialogue and exchange of ideas on the goal of decriminalising sexual rights offences and eradicating conversion practices in African countries.
The Centre hopes to build a body of academically sound literature harmonizing context and strategy on these topics. Panelists will present papers on the themes of the conference. In particular, they will discuss:
Decriminalisation of same-sex relations
In May 2019, a Kenyan High Court refused to repeal colonial era laws criminalising same-sex relationships. Yet, in June 2019 the High Court in Botswana overturned similar laws and in 2021 the Court of Appeal confirmed this decision. Additionally, while movements in Kenya and Botswana have pursued decriminalisation through the Judiciary, in some States, such as Mozambique, Angola and Gabon, decriminalisation has come about through legislative change. The widely differing outcomes and strategies apparent across the continent point to the necessity of an international scholars and activists’ dialogue to reflect on both the positive and negative outcomes of advocacy and litigation and to identify States in which decriminalisation campaigns may enjoy success in the near future. Panellists will discuss, analyse and build on successful decriminalisation attempts and dissect unsuccessful decriminalisation attempts. Panellists will discuss the importance of decriminalisation, challenges, obstacles and opportunities across the continent.
Conversion practices are harmful practices in which various techniques are employed in an attempt to alter the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBTIQ+ persons. In the African context, there is a dearth of knowledge on the nature, extent and impact of these practices in different countries. Several reports indicate that these practices manifest in varying forms and in some cases include violence and coercion, which has been likened to torture and other forms of harm. Furthermore, perpetrators of these practices vary and include traditional and religious actors, healthcare practitioners as well as family members and government institutions. Evidence indicates that little has been done to eradicate the practice in many African countries. Panellists will provide crucial context, highlighting the nature, extent, and impact of conversion practices across Africa as well as the harms implicit in these practices. Panellists will explore and propose existing or potential strategies to end conversion practices across the continent.