On Tuesday the 1st of February, the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, the Treatment Action Campaign, Section27 and various other civil society, faith-based and community organisations will stage a protest at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).
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.
Following on this positive vote at the UN, we called on the South African Government to urge AU member states to protect LGBTI people on our continent from any forms of violence, discrimination and persecution. Despite the promising vote at the UN, SA foreign policy showed to be inconsistent and until now at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, the South African Government has not raised the importance of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
South Africa’s ignorance of its obligation to uphold its Constitution makes it, at the very least, complicit in the recent murder of one of the most vocal voices against homophobia on the continent, Ugandan David Kato as well as many other LGBTI people across the continent.
It is now absolutely imperative that South Africa play a role in AU member countries taking 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; notably against women, those with disabilities, workers and LGBTI people.
For all the
above reasons, following the recent calls made outside parliament this week, we
will join in calling all South Africans to demand of their government to
undertake the following:
i) 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 and to avoid the murders of activists such as David Kato;
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.
We will continue to stand firm until these results are met.
Picket: Tuesday, February 1st 2011 between 10:00- 12:00
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
For More Information Contact: Kunu 076 983 9195 and/or Natasha 082 660 0723