Advanced Human Rights Course: Sexual Minority Rights

  • DATE

    25 February

  • TIME

    8:00 - 17:00


    Room 2-67, Graduate Centre

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a one-week intensive short course on sexual minority rights from 25 February to 1 March 2019.

About the course

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Sexual Minorities in Africa introduces participants to basic SOGIE concepts and a thematic and geographical exposition of challenges faced by LGBTI persons in Africa. This course is designed for people who wish to obtain basic/introductory information, an understanding of the terminology and a general appreciation of the problems faced by LGBTI persons in realising basic human rights in many societies. Participants are helped to understand ways in which they can make a contribution to advancing the rights of LGBTI persons, especially at national level. The course focuses strongly on strategies for litigation and advocacy/lobbying at national level. Participants typically include academics; police officers and magistrates (who often lack basic knowledge and are often accused of abusing LGBTI persons); NGOs which do not work on sexual minority rights issues, for example, or who have only recently begun to do so and need capacity building. They may also include National Human Rights Institutions, which are neither civil society organisations nor government departments and who can play an important role in countries where national governments are unsympathetic to LGBTI issues.

The Centre for Human Rights also presents a second course on Sexual Minorities in Africa and is a more technical course, designed to train LGBTI activists on how to engage with the African Union and United Nations human rights bodies - understanding the history, composition and working of these supra-national bodies, as well as how to bring cases / communications before these bodies. The course examines case law as well as legal and political strategies used in the past. This helps participants formulate their own strategies and develop networks. The course is interactive and includes practical exercises, in which participants receive training on the processes and procedures of AU and UN human rights bodies. They are also able to share experiences and inspire each other. Participants typically include LGBTI activists and human rights defenders in general, who at least have some experience of working at the national level. More information on this second course will be published on the Centre's website in due course.

The programme may contain the following elements:

  • Conceptual clarification of the terms ‘gay’, ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘transgender’ and ‘intersex’ (the origin of these and other related terms and their influence);

  • Bio-medical data on homosexuality, and its interpretation;

  • HIV and the emergence of ‘men-who-have-sex-with-men’ (MSM), MSM and the LGBTI movement, risk of HIV infection to lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered and intersex persons;

  • African tradition/culture and homosexuality (the ‘unAfrican’ debate, anthropological perspectives on homosexuality in traditional Africa);

  • The approach to homosexuality of the major religious traditions (Christianity, Islam);

  • Public opinion on sexual minority rights: media, popular culture and literature in Africa and sexual minority rights;

  • A typology of human rights violations of sexual minorities in African states (attempts to address them; reasons for violations);

  • Criminal law and LGBTI persons (sodomy laws, and the application of criminal law);

  • Sexual minority rights under international law (ICCPR; Toonen case; Yogyokarta Principles; are LGBTI persons ‘minorities’ under international law);

  • Domestic legal provisions affecting LGBTI persons in African states (eg criminalisation of same-sex relations);

  • Strategies and best practices of litigation to vindicate the rights of sexual minorities (the role of civil society organs, media etc);

  • Current case law development in African states (Uganda, Kenya and Malawi).

  • EU / Council of Europe and LGBTI Rights

  • Other international (UN) law and sexual minorities


Applicants are required to apply online for this course.

Deadline for applications:

SADC applicants: 18 February 2019
International Applicants: 11 January 2018

For more information, please contact:

Dennis Antwi

Project Manager: Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC)

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4197
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743
[email protected]


Geoffrey Ogwaro

Manager: Sexual Orientation and Expression (SOGIE) Unit

Tel. +27 (0) 12 420 5409
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743
[email protected]

  • Contact: Dennis - Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4197 | Geoffrey - Tel. +27 (0) 12 420 5409

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