Pretoria - Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Michael Masutha has called on African communities to do more to protect people from high levels of violence, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Speaking at a three-day regional seminar, hosted by the South African Human Rights Commission, to find practical solutions to address violence and discrimination perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, Minister Masutha said governments must respect, promote, protect and fulfil their mandate of human rights for all.
"The most important message we need to send is one of our common humanity. Regardless of the colour of our skin, our gender or sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, we all want the same things - respect, care, compassion and acceptance. We are all human beings," the Minister told the delegates, which included representatives from various African countries.
"It is a message that we must spread all over Africa. We must build communities and a society in which persons are accepted and respected, irrespective of one's sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, by all including their states."
Minister Masutha called on African countries to support and adopt the African Commission on Human Rights resolution of 2014 on the protection against violence and other human rights violations on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Resolution 275 condemns the increasing incidence of violence and other human rights violations, including murder, rape, assault, arbitrary imprisonment and other forms of persecution of persons on the basis of their imputed or real sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Minister said the commendable considerations of the resolution provide an appropriate platform for African Union (AU) member states to reflect on its treaty obligations.
"Building blocks in the form of the first regional seminar in terms of Resolution 275 can, therefore, assist in future, in bringing AU member states, in a non-confrontational manner, to a dialogue on ensuring compliance.
"This will help in providing practical solutions to address the scourge of violence, discrimination and dealing with the protection gap against persons discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in Africa," the Minister added.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT NEWS AGENCY