Quote of the week

As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.

Khampepe J
Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 28 (17 September 2021)
17 June 2011

Lesbian and Gay Equality Project welcomes SA’s UN moves on sexual orientation

LESBIAN AND GAY EQUALITY PROJECT (LGEP)

PRESS STATEMENT: LGEP WELCOMES ROLE PLAYED BY SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT AT THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY

The Lesbian and gay Equality Project (LGEP) congratulates the South African government for sponsoring a historic resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. South Africa will present this resolution for voting to Member States of the United Nations (UN) at the UN Human Rights Council session today in Geneva.

This historic resolution affirms the universality of human rights, and notes concern about acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a study on violence and discrimination on these grounds, and calls for a panel discussion to be held at the Human Rights Council to discuss the findings of the study in a constructive and transparent manner, and to consider appropriate follow-up.

This resolution is consistent with the South African Constitution, South African legislation and numerous judgments of South African Courts. The South African Bill of Rights explicitly and proudly prohibits discrimination, both by the state and by private persons, on the ground of sexual orientation. The LGEP is also pleased with the progressive role played by the South African government in the current round of discussions on sexual orientation at the UN Human Rights Council. This is a welcome departure from past statements and positions advanced by representatives of the South African government at the Council and other international fora.

The resolution lays a strong foundation for South African to advance and promote the content of the resolution in the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The South African role in African multi-lateral institutions is critical given the extremely difficult environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-sexed and queer (LGBTIQ) people and their defenders face in many countries of our continent. Many LGBTIQ people live in continual fear of violent attack and experience discrimination. The resolution gives an international foundation for protection to one of the world’s most vulnerable minorities.

The LGEP also ackgnowledges the role played by several civil society organisations that actively lobbied for this resolution. This includes the Benoni-based Coalition of African Lesbians, the Cape Town-based Black Sash, Freedom and Roam Uganda, Sexuality Policy Watch (Brazil), International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (USA), Global Action for Trans* Equality (USA), International Commission of Jurists (Switzerland), Human Rights Watch (USA) and many others.

There are still a number of countries that are not in support of the statement. Yet, it is very important that this resolution is adopted. If passed, this will be the first UN resolution ever to bring specific focus to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We therefore support ongoing efforts by many activists engaging different UN member states to support the resolution tomorrow.

ENDS

FOR COMMENTS, CONTACT:

Mazibuko K. Jara – 083 651 0271

Phumi Mthethwa – 072 959 9194

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