This is an URGENT and extremely IMPORTANT action, and we kindly ask that your organisation signs onto this letter before or by 18h00 today-Tuesday 23 September 2014.
Activists and advocates and human rights defenders working on sexuality and gender and on human
rights and social justice in Africa are asked to take note of the proceedings at the Human Rights
Council [Geneva] this week and engage!
At the Human Rights Council in Geneva
A resolution on Human rights and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity has been tabled [see
attached] by Chile, Columbia, Uruguay and Brazil.
This is a follow up Resolution to the first ever SOGI specific Resolution at the UN – Human Rights,
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity of June 2011 [Resolution 17/19] which was led by South
Africa and co-sponsored by Brazil and Norway.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
This Resolution is important because
1. The issue of rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression is not yet
recognised by many states as a human right issue. This Resolution and its predecessor assert
sexual orientation and gender identity as a human rights issue
2. The levels of violence and discrimination against people based on their real or perceived
sexual orientation and gender identity and expression continues to rise and is driven by both
state and non-state actors. Our efforts to confront these violations and discrimination must
be taken to every platform available. We must address this growing human rights crises and
related sexuality and gender related violations.
3. The initial Resolution put the issue firmly on the table of the major UN human rights body,
the Human Rights Council. There is a need to keep this issue on the Human Rights Council
agenda and at this point the Resolution does this in a way that asserts the importance of
rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity and calls for states to begin to make
the shit to recognition and protection of rights related to sexual orientation and gender
identity and expression
4. There is a massive backlash underway by many states and the Holy See at the UN against
freedom of association, speech and against rights related to sexuality and gender and the
demands we have been and will continue to make for autonomy over our bodies and lives.
We must push back at this backlash and continue to push forwards to setting standards of all
rights for all. This Resolution is one way of doing this. We must pay attention to other similar
issues and backlash against them, such as sex work, abortion and issues of people living with
HIV and transmission as well as the need for comprehensive sexuality education, amongst
others [Watch this space and check out the website of the Sexual Rights Initiative]
5. This resolution is an outcome of many of us on the continent and elsewhere to push forward
an agenda on autonomy and freedom of choice over our bodies and lives and we need to
recognise and affirm this work and push for support for this and similar Resolutions
WHY IS SOUTH AFRICA’S VOTE IMPORTANT
All votes by all states which have voting powers [current members of the Human Rights Council] are
important. [See list attached]
This particular action is geared towards urging and pressuring South Africa to vote yes for the
1. South Africa has set a global standard on laws and policy frameworks for the recognition and
protection of rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression
2. South Africa led on the initial Resolution [17/19] in June 2011 and this leadership is
important to sustain within the global intergovernmental system
3. We need African states to be voting in favour of this resolution and to be moving into
sustained dialogue on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
South Africa is one such state with the credibility on this issue because of their domestic
policy framework. South Africa must not stop or withhold their leadership as slowly other
African states become sensitive to the need for protection and recognition of rights related to
sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
Similar work is being done with other African states with current voting power at the Human Rights
Council [members of the Council]. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
WHAT CAN YOU DO
1. Read the attached letter to the Minister of International Relations in South Africa (below)
2. Sign on by sending an email with your organisation name and the words SIGN ON
Send your SIGN ON email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Keep engaging on this issue on the social media of the #DemandAccountabilitySA Campaign
member. You can find them here:
Updates will be posted there and discussion and analysis will be underway for this week and
into the next.