Pretoria: 31 January 2011
As a wide range of civil society, faith-based, community organisations and individuals nationally, we call on the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the South African Government to act in accordance with the values and principles of South Africa’s Constitution. We see the period of the African Union (AU) summit as a platform for South Africa to prove its commitment to its Bill of Rights and the protection of all marginalized people.
The theme of the forthcoming summit "Towards Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values" will be valueless so long as thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in our continent live in fear of persecution, vilification, violence and discrimination. It is time that such conditions are exposed and effectively addressed. South Africa must use its position at the AU to ensure that AU member countries must take urgent action.
In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted to include protection for lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in a crucial resolution condemning extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings. This resolution was supported by the South African government, in contrast to its past votes against LGBTI rights at the UN. The latest positive vote underlines the importance of, and need for, a consistent South African policy framework on LGBTI equality as it arises at global and continental inter-governmental forums and bodies.
We also believe
the December vote lays a
foundation for South Africa to play a leading role in the promotion of LGBTI
rights and equality in the African Union (AU), the SADC and other continental
bodies. This South African Government assertion of LGBTI equality in our
continent must be a central factor at the next Ordinary Session of the
decision-making organs of the AU scheduled to take place from 25 – 31st January
2011, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
We call on the South African government to urge AU member states to concretely apply the UN resolution by protecting LGBTI people in our continent from any forms of violence, discrimination and persecution. For the UN resolution to have meaning in our continent, AU member countries must take action to remove all laws, policies and measures that discriminate against LGBTI people and that violate their rights to equality, justice, freedom and life, and to ensure their protection from violence. Member countries should also be aware of and work against those socio-economic conditions that result in poverty and inequality against all people
For all the above reasons, the national
days of action of the 24th of January and the 31st of
January will be a call to all South Africans demand of their government to
undertake the following:
i) To use the 25-31 January 2011 AU summit to urge AU member states to protect LGBTI Africans from violence, persecution, and discriminatory laws and practices;
ii) To use its standing in the SADC, African Union and other continental bodies to promote the rights of LGBTI people in our continent to dignity, equality, freedom and non-discrimination;
iii) To adopt a consistent foreign policy framework based on the values of human rights, equality and non-discrimination as enshrined in the Constitution; and
iv) To undertake education, training and information dissemination with all relevant South African diplomatic representatives and officials in order that they advance the constitutional values of human rights, equality and non-discrimination in their exercise of South Africa’s foreign policy.
The day of action will see protest action to Parliament in Cape Town and to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in Tshwane.
31 January 2011
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
460 Soutpansberg Road
For more information: The Equality Project at 011 487 3810/1
Details to follow shortly
This initiative is supported by (amongst others):
Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project (LGEP)
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)