Over the last decade or so, international acceptance of 'sexual minorities' has increased significantly, reflected in the consensus that a person's sexual orientation or gender identity should not be a basis for denying him or her the equal protection of the law.
In most of the African continent, a conflicting trend of formally stigmatising homosexuality has manifested itself, leading to the following three questions:
- To what extent is this trend at odds with the formal legal protection under African regional human rights treaties and the constitutions of most African states?
- To what extent is institutionalising African homophobia justified by the arguments that equal legal protection of 'sexual minorities' is a neocolonial attempt at subverting 'African values', that it is in conflict with deeplyheld religious beliefs and African culture, and that it flies in the face of the majority's views in African societies?
- What legal and extra-legal strategies should be used to advance the rights of sexual minorities and curb homophobia on the continent?
Prof Frans Viljoen holds a master's degree in Afrikaans, LLB and LLD degrees from the University of Pretoria and an LLM from University of Cambridge. He is professor and Director of the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. His research area is international human rights law, with a focus on the African regional human rights system, which has been established under the auspices of the African Union.
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Date: Wednesday 12 June 2013
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Prof Frans Viljoen holds a master's degree in Afrikaans, LLB and LLD degrees from the University of Pretoria and an LLM from University of Cambridge.