UPR in Eswatini and Zimbabwe : making sure LGBTI rights are taken on board

Published on 04 Nov 2021, 10:40 AM

Eswatini will undergo the UPR on 8 November 2021, and Zimbabwe in January 2022

The Rock of Hope presenting their main concerns to several stakeholders in Eswatini, October 2021.

In the week of 4 October 2021, the Centre organized two activities in the framework of the Out&Proud project. Both Zimbabwe and Eswatini are scheduled to undergo the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the coming months, and the Centre supported LGBTI organisations in both countries with the development and execution of their advocacy strategy ahead of the review.

Both workshops brought together representatives from several LGBTI organisations within existing consortiums. This process began months ago, when the groups prepared their alternative report to the UPR, available here and here.

"Due to the disparity between the gender marker in official documents and their appearance, many transpersons in Zimbabwe are not registered for the upcoming elections. The same barrier goes for vaccinations."

- Sam Ndlovu, Executive Director of TREAT

Sharing priorities with diplomatic missions

Eswatini’s pre-session took place on 6 October, and a representative of the Rock of Hope presented the report to diplomatic missions from all over the world in a virtual meeting. The group also prepared a factsheet, that summarized the main concerns of the LGBTI community in the country, and suggested recommendations. Main concerns included the fact that LGBTI persons living in Eswatini experience social exclusion, discrimination and violence based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression (SOGIE). Domestic legislation does not include SOGIE amongst the prohibited grounds of discrimination and there are no oversight mechanisms protect LGBTI persons who face discrimination. These concerns were shared with a representative from the US embassy, the Ministry of Justice, UNDP and a member of the national mechanism for reporting and follow-up.

In Zimbabwe, representatives from several LGBTI organisations in the country came together to discuss their advocacy plan. It was stressed that working in coalition would be more effective, and that the main role of civil society is to provide oversight.

The day after, the CSOs provided some contextual background of the lived realities of LGBTI people in Zimbabwe with diplomatic missions in a virtual meeting.

Next steps

Eswatini’s UPR will take place on 8 November. Zimbabwe’s pre-session will take place in December 2021, and the UPR itself in January 2022.

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