South Africa

Click here for a summary of the South Africa’s review at the second cycle and/or the third cycle.

1st UPR session
Date of review: 15 April 2008
Date of report adoption: 23 May 2008
Document number: A/HRC/8/32

SUMMARY

SOGIESC issues during South Africa’s 1st UPR review
Civil society submissions: ✓ (3 submissions)
National report: ✘
UN information: ✓
Working group discussions: ✓
Recommendations: ✓ (2 noted)

I. SOGIESC issues/recommendations identified by NGOs
Equality and non-discrimination 

4.  According to HRW [Human Rights Watch], while South Africa’s constitution outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, and same-sex marriage has been legalized, gay and lesbian people remain vulnerable.

Right to life, liberty and security of the person

15.  AI [Amnesty International] was informed by rape survivors and non-governmental service-providing organizations (SPOs) about cases of failed police response to these crimes, including by exhibiting gender-insensitive and prejudiced attitudes towards complainants, among them lesbian women […]

18.  According to the Joint Working Group (JWG), there is a high rate of hate crimes and violations targeted against Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (LGBT) people, particularly black lesbians, in South Africa. These range from hate speech to physical abuse and assault, rape and other forms of sexual violence and murder. Sexual assault and even murder motivated by homophobic prejudice is a particularly common problem, especially for black lesbian and bisexual women. HRW noted that a spate of homophobia-induced murders of lesbians prompted the South African Human Rights Commission to develop a program of action to combat escalating hate crimes and to determine whether South Africa needs legislation in this regard.

II. Excerpts on SOGIESC issues from the national report
No references.

III. Excerpts on SOGIESC issues by UN agencies
Right to life, liberty and security of the person 

9. […] The Special Rapporteur on violence against women in relation to the alleged murder of a lesbian woman attacked by 20 young men, who was reportedly beaten, stoned and stabbed to death,  noted with concern that although the police had identified and arrested six of the alleged  perpetrators, no official publicly condemned the incident as a hate crime, that this case does  not constitute an isolated incident, and that lesbian women face an increased risk of becoming  victims of violence, especially rape, because of widely held prejudices and myths.

IV. References to SOGIESC issues during the Working Group review
56. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland noted that South Africa’s liberal Constitution provides a strong institutional structure for the protection and defence of human rights. […] It congratulated South Africa on its progressive stance domestically on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people and commended it on its leadership in this area. In this regard, the United Kingdom recommended to South Africa to continue to promote and protect the right of all persons to equality without discrimination based on sexual orientation, at both the national and international levels.

57. Belgium […] also welcomed the progress made by South Africa by banning, in the Constitution, all discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. According to information provided by representatives of civil society as contained in the stakeholders’ summary report, this category of the population nevertheless remains vulnerable. Belgium noted that the South African Human Rights Commission has developed a programme of action to combat hate crimes against this category of the population and Belgium sought more information on its implementation. Belgium recommended to South Africa to increase its efforts to provide mediation machinery to provide victims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation more accessible and rapid remedies. It also recommended making efforts on the sensitization in education to strengthen the prevention of these forms of discrimination.

65. […] On the issue of sexual orientation, [the delegation of South Africa, H .E. Mrs. Glaudine J. Mtshali] indicated that there is no specific legislation pertaining to it and that South Africa prohibits discrimination on any ground irrespective of a person’s sex or gender.

V. Conclusions and/or recommendations
South Africa noted the following recommendations:

20. Recommended to South Africa to continue to promote and protect the right of all persons to equality without discrimination based on sexual orientation, at both the national and international levels (United Kingdom);

21. Recommended to South Africa to increase its efforts to provide mediation machinery to provide victims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation more accessible and rapid remedies (Belgium).

VI. Further information
You will find all documents relating to South Africa’s first review at UPR-Info and OHCHR’s websites.