AMSHeR Statement on the Occasion of the International Human Rights Day

Today the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) joins the community of other human rights defenders and organisations to commemorate the International Human Rights Day and the progress that have been made regionally and global to advance human and peoples’ rights

AMSHeR welcome the African Union (AU) Decision at the 23rd Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to declare the Year 2016 the “Africa Year of Human Rights”. This decision demonstrates a commitment to human rights from Africa’s highest political body. It is only by showing political commitment and taking effective action for the realisation of human rights of all people that vision of a ‘people-centred Union’ can be achieved. Across the African continent, people continue to suffer discrimination on the basis of their sex, ethnicity, disability, HIV status, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has decided in Communication 245 / 2002 (Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum vs Zimbabwe) that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of the Charter’s provisions on equality and equal protection before and by the law[1]. It expressed that “the Commission is also worried about the upsurge in intolerance towards sexual minorities’ in the Concluding observations on Cameroon[2] and adopted the landmark Resolution 275 on Protection Against Violence on Persons on the Basis of their Real or Imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity[3]. Many of this resolutions and decisions are yet to be implemented by African States.

‘As we approach the 2016 – Africa Year for Human Rights, it is important for the African Union – through it political and technical organs and bodies, especially the ACHPR to do more to address the violations suffered by marginalised groups across Africa including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV, refugees and migrant workers, persons in prisons and places of detention, among others’, say Kene Esom, AMSHeR Executive Director.

‘The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights must fully exercise its mandate as the norm-setting and human rights accountability body of the African Union to hold States accountable to their human rights obligation under the African Charter and other international human rights instruments.’

AMSHeR calls on the African Union to preserve and maintain the independence and autonomy of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and ensure that it is supported to carry out its activities without undue interference.


[1] See

[2] See

[3] see