A Lesbian woman holds a rainbow flag at Durban Gay Pride

UPR Submission on Violence against LGBTIQ+ persons in South Africa 

REDRESS and its South African partners, Access Chapter 2, have made a joint submission as part of the Fourth Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of South Africa that will be held in October and November 2022.  

The submission focuses on the disproportionate violence and other human rights violations experienced by individuals who identify as LGBTIQ+ in South Africa, raises concerns regarding legislative and practical gaps in the protection of LGTIQ+ persons, the State’s failure to prevent, investigate and prosecute acts of violence (including torture and other ill-treatment) and pervasive barriers to justice and redress for victims.  

South Africa accepted a number of important recommendations during the previous UPR cycle in 2017 and has since taken some steps to implement these. Nonetheless, there persists a lack of adequate protection of LGBTIQ+ persons in practice and little or no accountability for the discriminatory violence perpetrated against them.  

The submission identifies forms of violence often perpetrated due to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) often amounting to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (CIDTP), and highlights the need to implement effective mechanisms to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and provide redress for such acts of violence, in line with international standards.  

REDRESS and Access Chapter 2 note that action and further efforts are needed, including in the following areas: 

  • Enactment of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill; 
  • Prevention of LGBTIQ+ violence through monitoring mechanisms;  
  • Investigation of instances of LGBTIQ+ violence, and prosecution of violent crimes against vulnerable groups and; 
  • Access to justice and redress.  

The joint submission outlines important recommendations to be considered during the South Africa’s UPR examination which could enhance the legal protection of LGBTIQ+ persons in the country, and strengthen investigation and accountability efforts in relation to the violence experienced by the LGBTIQ+ community.  

 About our partners AC2 

 Access Chapter 2 is a non-governmental organisation established in 2014 that protects and promotes human rights of LGBTI+ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex), women, and young girls in South Africa. The organisation seeks to uphold South Africa’s bill of rights, found in Chapter 2 of the country’s Constitution, working to improve the lives of LGBTI+ people and women locally and globally through the values of ubuntu, informing public policy, fostering change, and promoting human rights and inclusion through provision of direct services, legal support and advocacy, education, research, and community engagement. 

Photo credit: Marcus Rose/Panos Pictures