United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva

South Africa’s LGBT community has been urged to urgently sign a petition demanding that the country’s government endorse a UN statement in favour of ending violence against people on the basis of sexual and gender identity.

The joint statement will be presented on 21 March by the Ambassador of Colombia to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, where it will be debated and hopefully adopted by the UNHRC.

All countries that intend to support the statement are required to sign on by 18 March and, as of 15 March, 58 countries had done so. South Africa is not one of these countries.

According to the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project and the Coalition to End Discrimination, South Africa has not yet endorsed the statement nor given a positive undertaking to do so.

The groups added that the government has indicated that it will not lobby against the statement, but they insist that “this is not enough”.

“We demand that Minister [of International Relations and Cooperation] Maite Nkoana-Mashabane immediately gives an undertaking that government will sign onto the statement and that South Africa’s representative on the United Nations Human Rights Council will be present to vote in favour of the statement,” said the groups.

“We further demand that government vote positively on all human rights questions (including those affecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people) in international forums such as the United Nations. Our Constitution commands government to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to freedom, equality and dignity of all people.”

The petition needs to be signed by midday on Friday 18 March and

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