While LGBTQIA+ groups and individuals in Africa are especially impacted by violence during periods of repression and armed conflict, as well as before and after, their experiences have largely gone unspoken and undocumented. While several countries, such as Angola and Botswana, have decriminalised homosexuality in recent years, and the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights has acknowledged different sexual orientations and gender identities, homosexuality continues to be against the law in 32 countries in Africa. Patriarchal norms render Africa’s LGBTQIA+ population vulnerable to gender-based violence, including sexual violence. As victims and survivors, LGBTQIA+ individuals are often hesitant to come forward for fear of stigmatisation and ostracisation, as well as the legal repercussions of their perceived sexuality. They are also not included in the design and implementation of peace efforts and transitional justice mechanisms, even in cases where these processes are widely seen as gender sensitive.
This webinar will include Sites of Conscience members and partners and examine the historical roots of discrimination against LGBTQIA+ populations in Africa, their experiences under authoritarian regimes and in periods of systematic rights violations, and the human rights architecture protecting LGBTQIA+ rights. It will aim to centre the needs and demands of this marginalised population and propose approaches for addressing LGBTQIA+ claims through transitional justice policy and practice in Africa, ranging from prosecutions and truth commissions to reparations and institutional reforms, as well as traditional and community-based mechanisms - reforms that can be viewed as part of broader attempts to address gender-based discrimination and violence and to transform gender norms in transitional societies.