This report sheds light on the violence and torture suffered by LGBTIQ+ people in Africa and the challenges that victims face to secure accountability for these crimes. It examines the situation in 11 countries in Africa - Algeria, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Uganda, and South Africa - but the findings of the research are equally applicable to other contexts in Africa. While discriminatory violence can and often does amount to torture or other ill-treatment, the report finds that States often fail to confront or treat it as such. Many States in Africa afford little to no legal protection to LGBTIQ+ persons, whilst others criminalise same-sex conduct and fail to recognise the full spectrum of sexual orientations and gender identities. In recent years, there has also been a resurgence in legislation which targets, rather than protects, LGBTIQ+ persons. This has resulted in an increase in violence against LGBTIQ+ persons, while impunity remains the norm. The report, which has a foreword by the UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, Víctor Madrigal-Borloz, outlines specific proposals to States, African human rights bodies, and civil society to improve the current situation.
The Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) and REDRESS three-part series of factsheets summarises the key thematic areas reviewed in the recent report titled ‘Anti-Torture Standards in Common Law Africa: Good Practices and Way Forward’. The factsheets review the anti-torture legal and regulatory frameworks in specific States in common law Africa but can be useful for other States and practitioners in the region more broadly. Specifically, the three factsheets analyse:
- The extent to which the reviewed States have domesticated the definition and prohibition of torture.
- The implementation of safeguards against torture for persons deprived of their liberty.
- The existing complaints and investigation mechanisms that receive complaints of and investigate allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in the eight States reviewed.
REDRESS and the UK Anti-Corruption Coalition (UKACC) have published a review of the first year of the UK anti-corruption sanctions, outlining how the UK Government has used it powers since 26 April 2021 and identifying key areas for improvement.
REDRESS and the National Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) made this submission to draw the Committee against Torture’s attention to the issue of discriminatory violence affecting individuals identifying or perceived as LGBTIQ+ in Kenya.
The present report highlights universal jurisdiction cases where judges or prosecutors have initiated investigations into the most serious international crimes in 2021. It also raises the question of how universal jurisdiction can contribute to the fight against impunity for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence. The report has been researched and written by Valerie Paulet, Legal Consultant at TRIAL International, in collaboration with Civitas Maxima, the Center for Justice and Accountability, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights, and REDRESS. The publication benefited from the generous support of the Oak Foundation, the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the UKAID from the UK Government and the City of Geneva.
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 focusses 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.
The effective incorporation of anti-torture standards within States’ domestic legal frameworks and their effective implementation in practice is crucial to prevent torture and other ill-treatment, ensure that perpetrators are held accountable, and to provide redress for victims. States in the African region widely reject the practice of torture and other ill-treatment, notably reflected through near regional universality of the UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and the widespread ratification of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and other human rights treaties. REDRESS and the Convention against Torture Initiative’s report examines the anti-torture legislative and regulatory framework of eight States in common law Africa, namely, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It identifies existing good practices and legislative provisions and opportunities for anti-torture legislative and regulatory reforms to inspire action towards strengthening the domestic implementation of UNCAT across the region. It outlines measures and proposals that can be considered by States and their institutions to secure legal protection against torture and other ill-treatment and positively impact torture prevention and response in practice. REDRESS would like to thank our partners CTI; the law firm Clifford Chance for their support during the drafting and editing process, and the expert members of the Advisory Board of this report: Ms. Aua Baldé, H.E. Mr. Ramses Joseph Cleland, Dr. Alice Edwards, Mr. Gaye Sowe, Ms. Ruth Ssekindi and Prof. Frans Viljoen.
In this briefing, REDRESS, the People’s Legal Aid Centre (PLACE), the Darfur Bar Association, and the Emergency Lawyers Group outline patterns of arrests and detentions conducted under Sudan’s emergency laws since the 25 October 2021 military coup.