PRETORIA, May 27 (NNN-SANEWS) — Deputy President Paul Mashatile says the South African government will continue to engage nationally and internationally about the moral and political need to respect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
South Africa, he said, outlaws all unfair discrimination based on sex, gender or sexual orientation, whether committed by the government or by a private party.
“For this reason, the government strongly believes that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual (LGBTQIA+) are human rights.”
The Deputy President was on Thursday responding to oral questions in Parliament about progress on the land reform programme, coalition governments, and his role as the President’s envoy on South Sudan.
Citing the Human Dignity Trust, a strategic litigation non-governmental organisation (NGO), which defends and advances the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, he said 67 countries around the world criminalise same-sex sexual activity.
Of these, he said 41 nations criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between women, 11 impose the death penalty, while 14 criminalise transgender people.
“This gives you an idea of the enormity of the challenge at hand. The matter concerns many countries throughout the world with whom you must engage persuasively to recognise the rights of LGBTQIA+ people.
“We must endeavour to persuade because the fact that the 67 countries in question criminalise LGBTQIA+ people is indicative of the truism that our outlook and our laws are not universal.
“We cannot, therefore, impose our will on other countries. We have to engage.”
He said these 67 countries represent 34.3% of nations of the world, which is no small number by any stretch of the imagination.
“The government will continue to engage nationally and internationally about the moral and political need to respect the rights of LGBTQIA+ people in bilateral and other fora.” — NNN-SANEWS