Call for Papers: Conference on the decriminalisation of same-sex laws and the eradication of conversion practices in Africa

Posted on March 31, 2022

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is convening a conference to bring together activists and  scholars working on the protection and promotion of LGBTIQ+ rights in Africa for a dialogue and exchange of ideas on the goal of decriminalising sexual rights offences and eradicating conversion practices in African countries. The Centre hopes to build a body of academically sound literature harmonizing context and strategy on these topics and, as such, welcomes contributions from scholars based at or affiliated with universities in Africa. We are inviting submission of papers including scholarly articles, essays, comments on recently decided cases and further comments relating to the themes of the conference. 

Download Call for Papers


Each submission should be a commentary on, or inspired by, any of the following two themes: 

Decriminalisation of same-sex relations 

In May 2019, a Kenyan High Court refused to repeal colonial era laws criminalising same-sex relationships. Yet, in June 2019 the High Court in Botswana overturned similar laws and in 2021 the Court of Appeal confirmed this decision. Additionally, while movements in Kenya and Botswana have pursued decriminalisation through the Judiciary, in some States, such as Mozambique, Angola and Gabon, decriminalisation has come about through legislative change. The widely differing outcomes and strategies apparent across the continent point to the necessity of an international scholars and activists’ dialogue to reflect on both the positive and negative outcomes of advocacy and litigation and to identify States in which decriminalisation campaigns may enjoy success in the near future. We welcome submissions discussing, analysing and building on successful decriminalisation attempts. We also welcome submissions on unsuccessful decriminalisation attempts. Contributors may discuss the importance of decriminalisation, challenges, obstacles and opportunities across the continent. 

Conversion Practices 

Conversion practices are harmful practices in which various techniques are employed in an attempt to alter the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBTIQ+ persons. In the African context, there is a dearth of knowledge on the nature, extent and impact of these practices in different countries. Several reports indicate that these practices manifest in varying forms and in some cases include violence and coercion, which has been likened to torture and other forms of harm. Furthermore, perpetrators of these practices vary and include traditional and religious actors, healthcare practitioners as well as family members and government institutions. Evidence indicates that little has been done to eradicate the practice in many African countries. This publication welcomes contributions that highlight the nature, extent, and impact of conversion practices across Africa, the harms implicit in these practices, and existing or potential strategies to end conversion practices across the continent. 

Submission guidelines and participant selection

The title of the paper and an abstract of a maximum of 500 words should be submitted by 31 May 2022 as a PDF file using the google form link as provided. 

Successful contributors will be notified by 30 June 2022 and invited to present their papers at the conference held in Pretoria, South Africa from 24 – 25 November 2022. The selection of participants will be based on the quality and thematic fit of the submitted abstract with the conference theme. Travel and accommodation for the duration of the conference will be provided for successful contributors.

All conference papers should be submitted by 31 August 2022 to provide sufficient time for other participants to review the papers ahead of the conference. The word limit for conference papers is 3,000 – 5,000 words. For ease of editorial review, written submissions must be predominately in English with English translations provided for phrases in any other language used.

Publication information

It is expected that selected conference papers will be converted into a peer-reviewed publication as a resource for scholars and practitioners. Participants who wish to submit revised papers for the publication will be given time to develop their individual papers after the workshop, based on the comments from and discussion with the other participants. The space limit for the full-length papers is 8,000 words including footnotes. Submissions must be based on original research, conform to the usual standard of academic publishing, be fully referenced using Pretoria University Law 

Submission of full-length papers is expected by 30 March 2023. 

If you have any questions about the book publication, please contact [email protected] and copy [email protected]

- Author Centre for Human Rights

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