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SOGIE Unit - Projects

Advocacy and Sensitization

The unit engages in advocacy and public sensitization around key emerging human rights issues affecting sexual and gender diverse persons in Africa targeted at key stakeholders such as policy makers, states, government departments, the public and sexual and gender diverse organizations and individuals. The unit works towards influencing policies, laws, actions, and plans in a positive way to ensure that the rights of sexual and gender diverse persons in Africa are respected and governments act on their duty to respect, promote and protect these rights by virtue of having ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights conventions and charters.

Short Courses on SOGIE rights

The unit runs intensive short courses. The short courses target sexual and gender diverse human rights defenders and as well as policy makers, policy implementers, service providers such as health workers, social workers, immigration officials, and law enforcement. They also brings together some sexual and gender diverse persons to actively learn about human rights issues affecting sexual and gender diverse persons and how to mitigate the violation of their rights through an active knowledge of these rights.

Scholarships for LGBTIQ Human Rights Defenders

The SOGIE unit runs an annual scholarship for sexual and gender diverse individuals to pursue a one year masters study programme in the Centre for Human Rights’ trademark Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme that is offered each year. The recipients of this scholarship are expected to pursue an active career and service in the area of SOGIE human rights when they graduate. The scholarship is intended to empower them to be able to serve critically in the field in order to contribute powerfully and more meaningfully to the realization of rights for persons of a diverse sexual and gender identity and expression in Africa.

Access to justice through Equality Courts and other relevant courts of South Africa for sexual and gender diverse victims of discrimination

This is a very important component of the unit because it walks the talk by providing free legal support services in the form of guidance and court representation for persons who have been victims of discrimination through the Equality Courts of South Africa and other relevant courts such as the Labour Courts..

The legal support programme also tries to encourage victims to report cases and seek court action. This is because sometimes victims of discrimination are intimidated by the legal system. Information on the legal support programme and the Equality Courts is available and can be requested for at the office or accessed on the unit’s web page.

SOGIE Publications

The unit helps produce key reports and publications on SOGIE rights in Africa written by members of the unit, partnering writers, or by alumni of the Centre for Human Rights’ academic programmes.

Policy and Law Formulation

The unit engages in policy and law guidance and formulation when and where it is called upon or deems fit. The unit is engaged in a number of policy and law formulation activities at local, regional, and international level.

UN and AU Engagements

The unit actively and strategically engages at the regional and international levels with the two key international human rights institutions – the UN Human Rights Council which is the UN human rights body and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) which is the African Union’s human rights body.

The Centre for Human Rights has observer status at the African Commission and ECOSOC consultative status at the UN Human Rights Council.  This makes it well positioned to influence and drive the agenda for the realization of the human rights of sexual and gender diverse persons. Reports and key documents on some of the unit’s engagements at the UN and African Commission can be accessed on the unit’s web page. 

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