​South Africa’s UN non-vote against discrimination is an ‘insult’ to LGBTI community

South Africa’s decision to abstain from voting on a United Nations resolution to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation was shocking and an insult, a rights group said on Tuesday.

“This is really concerning and insulting to LGBTI people, because South Africa chose to build solidarity with African countries which are homophobic and discriminate against sexual minorities,” Access Chapter 2 director Mmapaseka “Steve” Letsike said. South Africa’s position at the UN was shocking and ignored its own Constitution, she said.

The South African government abstained from voting on the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council last Thursday. The resolution was passed with 23 votes for, 18 against, and six abstentions. No African country voted in favour of the resolution.

It establishes an independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the next three years.

Letsike said South Africa has shown inconsistencies in its policies relating to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex (LGBTI) community. Her organisation and several other partners, such as Pan Africa LGBTI, had lobbied for two weeks to change the government’s decision on its vote, but to no avail. They wrote to the international relations department, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy Justice Minister Thabang Makwetla.

The government explained its decision to abstain by saying: “The draft resolution added unnecessary divisiveness, building on the previous African initiative of 2012.”

Letsike said South Africa had a national task team to address hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. South Africa could thus not be inconsistent in international forums.

She added that the only explanation for South Africa’s abstention was that it feared becoming marginalised on the continent, but this was no excuse for betraying the values and principles enshrined in the Constitution. “South Africa should have sent a clear message that we stand by the rights of our people,” she added. – News24

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday