After so much doom and gloom, finally a ray of hope!
The African Union’s human rights commission has adopted a resolution condemning violence against LGBTI people, marking the first time an African human rights body has held that LGBTI people are protected under human rights law. The move is a direct rebuke to member states Nigeria and Uganda, which both recently passed extreme anti-LGBTI measures.
“It is a big deal,” said Monica Tabengwa, a longtime lesbian activist from Botswana who now works for Human Rights Watch in Nairobi. The resolution lacks any enforcement mechanism, but in a context where many African leaders are sanctioning anti-LGBTI violence while arguing that LGBTI rights are an invention of the U.S. and Europe, it sends a critical message.
“There has never been anything like this before. It will be very symbolic,” Tabengwa said. “It’s a homegrown resolution saying [LGBTI people] are human beings … it’s about [protecting] people’s lives.”
This is indeed a huge deal. Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon - can no longer claim LGBTI people are not African, or that promoting gay rights is a form of Western imperialism. This is the African Human Rights Commission, and they stay STOP!