African NGOs at Gambia forum adopt recommendations on sexual orientation rights

The NGO forum preceding the 51st session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights has adopted recommendations on the promotion and protection of human rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, SOGI.

The resolution presented by the Thematic Group sitting in Banjul, Gambia on SOGI included the following recommendations to the African commission:

  • Condemning persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by governments across Africa.
  • Calling on States to end impunity of state and non-state actors on violence against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Unequivocally stating that laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct between adults violate the non-discrimination and equality provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
  • Asserting that cultural and religious rights can peacefully coexist with the rights to non-discrimination and equality.
  • Emphasizing that governments across Africa have a responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all persons, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Calling on states to cease arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Calling on states to repeal laws that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct between adults, and amend other laws that are implemented with the purpose of persecuting individuals and communities based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, such as laws against indecency, cross-dressing, impersonation, and debauchery, among others.
  • Calling on states with anti-homosexuality bills pending to withdraw such bills with immediate effect.
  • Committing the African Commission to develop principles and standards on the prevention of persecution, discrimination and violence against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by state and non-state actors alike. Such principles and standards should be based on the African Charter, the African Commission’s jurisprudence, and the standards elaborated by the UN human rights bodies and experts.
  • Committing the African Commission to developing a rigorous and effective investigation, documentation and reporting mechanism for human rights abuses on the basis of real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This should include mandating the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and the Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Expression, and the Working Group for the Protection of the Rights of People Living With HIV, and Those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV to coordinate a Special Committee to investigate, document and report on these violations in order to develop appropriate responses and interventions.

The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ADHRS) organises the NGO forum which precedes every session of the African Commission. As usual, the forum was held for three days and ended yesterday.

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