Valentines 2018: Love my Resolution 275

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Resolution 275 is a commitment by Africa’s highest human rights body, The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, on the Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (55th Ordinary Session, Angola, 2014.)

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It signifies a very positive and important change in stigma and discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans in Africa.

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The full text follows:

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The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), meeting at its 55th Ordinary Session held in Luanda, Angola, from 28 April to 12 May 2014:

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Recalling that Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) prohibits discrimination of the individual on the basis of distinctions of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or any status;

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Further recalling that Article 3 of the African Charter entitles every individual to equal protection of the law;

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Noting that Articles 4 and 5 of the African Charter entitle every individual to respect of their life and the integrity of their person, and prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment;

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Alarmed that acts of violence, discrimination and other human rights violations continue to be committed on individuals in many parts of Africa because of their actual or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity;

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Noting that such violence includes ‘corrective’ rape, physical assaults, torture, murder, arbitrary arrests, detentions, extra-judicial killings and executions, forced disappearances, extortion and blackmail;

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Further alarmed at the incidence of violence and human rights violations and abuses by State and non-State actors targeting human rights defenders and civil society organisations working on issues of sexual orientation or gender identity in Africa;

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Deeply disturbed by the failure of law enforcement agencies to diligently investigate and prosecute perpetrators of violence and other human rights violations targeting persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity;

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Condemns the increasing incidence of violence and other human rights violations, including murder, rape, assault, arbitrary imprisonment and other forms of persecution of persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity;

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Specifically condemns the situation of systematic attacks by State and non-state actors against persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity;

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Calls on State Parties to ensure that human rights defenders work in an enabling environment that is free of stigma, reprisals or criminal prosecution as a result of their human rights protection activities, including the rights of sexual minorities; and

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Strongly urges States to end all acts of violence and abuse, whether committed by State or non-state actors, including by enacting and effectively applying appropriate laws prohibiting and punishing all forms of violence including those targeting persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identities, ensuring proper investigation and diligent prosecution of perpetrators, and establishing judicial procedures responsive to the needs of victims.

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The text is also available on the ACHPR site

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The Resolution 275 campaign is part of AAI's Destabilising Heteronormativity Project and Whosmytribe campaign.

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Why is it important to know that Resolution 275 exists and what it says?

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The resolution simply states goals that states should strive to achieve, providing them with a human rights road map to follow to be in accordance with current African human rights standards.

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The resolution empowers LGBT Africans, LGBT allies and advocates to demand accountability from their governments, and all other stakeholders as it sets the tone for engagement on human rights for LGBT people in Africa.

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The resolution empowers companies, bureaucrats and others to stand up for LGBT Africans in a myriad of ways. Having an African commitment to the human rights of LGBT people provides a new standard for all to work towards achieving.

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"This Resolution is significant for a number of reasons, chief of which is that, by pronouncing itself expressly on sexual orientation and gender identity based discrimination and violence, it opens a clear path to developing the jurisprudence of the African Commission and the African human rights system more broadly on these issues. Subsequent to the adoption of Resolution 275, the African Commission granted observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), ending a seven year battle for recognition before the Commission. However, this remains contested at the time of writing. A number of CSOs have approached the African Court of Justice and Human Rights for an advisory opinion on the legality of the request by the African Union’s Executive Council to the African Commission to withdraw the observer status granted to CAL. The above has offered a synopsis of around a decade of engagement by LGBTI persons, activists and rights organisations with the African human rights system. The real story is in their resilience and persistence, the solidarity built with CSOs working on other rights issues, the increasing capacity to frame the struggle for LGBTI equality through the lens of intersectionality, and the ability to mobilise an army of activists and CSOs at the country level to commit to a common campaign and see it to fruition. The fact that African LGBTI persons and organisations were the vanguard of this campaign as its faces and voices cannot be over-emphasised, especially to the degree that it has changed the rhetoric that claims that ‘homosexuality is unAfrican’." Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa: challenging the single story. Kene Esom, African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR)

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What other ways can you think of? Why is this important? Join us on our Facebook page for more discussion or for more info contact phillipa@aidsaccountability.org  or lucinda@aidsaccountability.org

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