Advocacy on Rejection of Observer status at the the African commission on Human And Peoples Rights
By Nzovu Job Ruzage | Executive Director
During the 73rd ordinary session of the African commission on Human And Peoples Rights, the Commission considered and rejected applications for Observer Status of three (3) NGOs- Alternative Cote d'Ivoire; Human Rights First Rwanda; and Synergía – Initiatives for Human Rights, on the grounds that sexual orientation is not an expressly recognized right or freedom under the African Charter, and contrary to the virtues of African values, as envisaged by the African Charter.
This is contrary to resolution 275 (lv) that was adopted by the same commission in 2014 on Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.
Human Rights first Rwanda Association and the other two organizations have mobilized 19 organizations to come up with an advocacy statement to challenge the appalling decision. You can sign the attached statement and spread it to your networks and thank you for the continued support on advocating for vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged sexual minority groups.
Advocacy for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity inquiry points in the Census
By Mbabazi Busingye | Project leader
In our continued efforts to safeguard the rights of sexual minorities in accordance with the Yogyakarta Principles, Human Rights First Rwanda Association has been advocating for modest efforts to integrate sexual minorities into Rwandan society in the long run.
It is against this back ground that we identified a strong and timely opportunity for sexual minorities to be protected through the inclusion of relevant questions in the decennial national census in August 2022.
Meetings were held with various stakeholders with the purpose of engaging and lobbying them in recognizing the plight of LGBTIQ community inRwanda and also the inclusion of sexual minorities in the Census counting that was slated from 15th August to 31st 2022
The ultimate goal of including the proposed questions of sexual orientation and gender identity inquiry points in the national Census data collection was not attained however the plight of Transgender women and Gender-non conforming persons and the need of inclusion of sexual orientation and Gender identity in the upcoming Census counting in Rwanda was brought to the attention of the concerned government Departments which included the National Institute of statistics.
The positive opportunity that happened during the advocacy is that the National Institute of Statistics accepted to conduct Surveys in future on the LGBTIQ community, because the prepared Census questions had not been factored to include another gender other than the traditional male-female binary.
With your continued support we will strive to advocate for the rights and betterment of the lives of the LGBTIQ community in Rwanda and the Greatlakes region,
Protecting LGBTIQ people from violence and discrimination is the legal obligations of states to safeguard the human rights of LGBTIQ people which are well established in international human rights law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently agreed international human rights treaties. All people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic crisis the LGBTIQ community have faced a lot of discrimination and Violence. Human Rights First Rwanda Association and its partners have been campaigning through meetings with various stakeholders and community leaders to be tolerant on the LGBTIQ community leading up to the world day of celebrating International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), whose theme this year is ‘Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights’, which is a reminder that everyone must have the right to make decisions about their bodies and their lives.
Indeed, all of us must play a role in standing up and speaking out against hate, discrimination, and violence wherever and whenever it occurs.
With your continued support we shall continue advocating for the rights of the LGBTIQ community within the great lakes region and beyond.
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