Delane Kalembo

Johannesburg – South Africa.| Dakar – Senegal.

Today, the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) joins the world, other human rights defenders and organisations to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, the day on which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations. The formal inception of Human Rights Day dates from 1950, after the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V) inviting all States and interested organizations to adopt 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.

This is an opportunity for AMSHeR to celebrate progress made to advance human rights and individual freedoms for our communities at national, regional and international levels while acknowledging the long road still ahead to reach zero violations of human rights based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. To deliver the promises of human rights, we should not loose sight of their foundations, namely dignity, equality, non-discrimination and particularly the protection of individual space against state’s interference, control and dictatorship that promote conformist ideals.

AMSHeR welcomes states and non-states actors’ efforts to achieve realization of human rights for all through concrete measures to create a protective environment that ensures lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans-diverse and intersex individuals, groups and communities are included within countries development agenda and programmes. However, in many countries around the world – and particularly in Africa – this is not yet a reality.

“In the current context of religious fundamentalism and states’ failure to protect individuals under their jurisdiction against terrorism, joblessness and  poverty; sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity are still manipulated as grounds for violence, intolerance and public incitement for hatred by those who fail to deliver their promises to their electorate”, says Berry D. Nibogora, the AMSHeR Law and Human Rights Specialist.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 by the UN General Assembly seek to ensure full realisation of human rights for all and offer a unique opportunity for countries to embark on social, economic and political growth that leaves none behind, including Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans-diverse (LGBT) persons. However, there is still a huge gap in claiming and ensuring LGBT inclusion to address gender inequalities and social injustices around the world.

According to AMSHeR’s Executive Director, Kene C. Esom, “As the world focuses the development agenda on the sustainable development goals and the African Union embraces its Agenda 2063, African queer movements must find a way to articulate the goals and principles in a way that make queer inclusion a central part of SDGs’ implementation. Each of the goals – ending poverty, ensuring healthy lives, access to education, achieving gender equality, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, eliminating inequalities, safe cities, or peaceful, inclusive and just societies – hold within it ideals to will further human dignity for all, including queer folks”.

AMSHeR calls upon states and non-state actors to consider the humanness and rich potential in each individual despite one’s sexuality or gender identity or expression, and ensure delivery of sustainable development goals is inclusive of LGBT individuals, groups and communities. End

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