The SOGIESC Unit engages in advocacy and public sensitization around key emerging human rights issues affecting sexual and genders diverse persons in Africa targeted at key stakeholders such as policymakers, states, government departments, the public and sexual and gender diverse organizations and individuals. The unit works towards influencing policies, laws, actions, and plans in a positive way to ensure that the rights of sexual and gender diverse persons in Africa are respected and governments act on their duty to respect, promote and protect these rights by virtue of having ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights conventions and charters.
The SOGIESC Unit is responsible for leading the Centre for Human Rights’ research on the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons in Africa. Since its inception, the Unit has contributed to academic and project research through independent research by masters and PhD scholars affiliated with the Unit and through thematic reports on issues such as Resolution 275, intersex rights, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The training projects of the SOGIESC Unit include providing masters and doctoral scholarships in the Centre for Human Rights for LGBTIQ+ advocates; organising an annual short course on sexual minority rights in Africa for legal professionals, social workers, judicial and law enforcement officials, and government officials; and also organising an annual capacity building workshop on strategic litigation and advocacy for established LGBTIQ+ advocates in Africa.
In South Africa, the SOGIESC Unit promotes the South African legal framework for equality and unfair discrimination for the benefit of LGBTIQ+ people living in South Africa. This is undertaken by encouraging the use of the Equality Courts with the aim of stemming unfair discrimination and hate speech based on sexual orientation and gender identity and bringing LGBTIQ+ rights issues into light through public events and seminars. Outside South Africa, the Unit partners with local and international organisations to promote the implementation of the African Commission’s Resolution 275 and encourage state parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to adhere to the call to protect LGBTIQ+ citizens and residents of the various states in Africa.