The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), a regional membership organisation of African NHRIs based in Nairobi Kenya is organising a technical workshop on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression (SOGIE) for representatives of NHRIs and SOGIE-related Civil Society Organisations.
The workshop which is slated for July 23 – 25 is being attended by a five member delegation from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) led by the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal in Entebbe, Uganda.
NANHRI works towards the strengthening of the capacity of NHRIs in Africa to assist them in fulfilling their mandate of promoting and protecting human rights as stipulated in the Paris principles. The Network which has a broad mandate to address all forms of human rights violations achieves this through its Secretariat that coordinates efforts amongst the NHRIs by linking them with other key human rights actors both at the regional and international level.
Following the adoption of Resolution 275 during the 55th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in 2014, the Secretariat NANHRI initiated a project to strengthen the capacity of African NHRIs to respond to violence and discrimination faced by persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. In the pilot phase that ended in November 2018, the NANHRI SOGIE Project collaborated and still continues to collaborate with five NHRIs from Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Malawi. The project aims at increasing the capacity of the NHRIs to respond to SOGIE-related violence and discrimination.
Findings from assessments conducted in 2018 to measure the extent to which the 5 NHRIs have institutionalised responses towards SOGIE-related violence revealed that:
- SOGIE-related complaints filed with the NHRIs are minimal compared to other forms of violations reported.
- CSO representatives interviewed expressed no or little confidence and/or awareness of the NHRI complaints mechanism.
- Except for the South African Human Rights Commission, SOGIE-related issues had been excluded from latest annual reports by the time of the assessment.
Nonetheless, CHRAJ is working assiduously and is highly optimistic that issues on SOGIE-related cases would be captured in its subsequent annual reports.
The overall objective of the CID workshop is to serve as a learning exchange platform for the 5 NHRIs on effective strategies to increase reporting of SOGIE-related violations in order to provide effective remedies that would expand the protection space for sexual and gender minorities.
The specific objectives, however, are to highlight progress from the 5 NHRIs on the extent to which responses towards SOGIE-related violence and discrimination have been integrated into respective institutions, and to serve as a forum to consolidate strategies that would lead to improved complaints mechanisms and documentation of SOGIE-related violations within NHRIs.
It is expected that at the end of the conference, NHRIs would have increased their knowledge on the best contextual strategies to employ for improved reporting of SOGIE-related cases to their institutions, and would also have acquired the appropriate technical skills for improved documentation of SOGIE-related issues within their respective institutions.