After seven long years and two application submissions, the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) has been granted observer status by the African Commission. The decision which was arrived at on 25th April was in response to an application filed in August 2014. CAL’s initial request for observer status was made in 2008 but was turned down in October 2010 with AC stating that the Organisation did not promote and protect any of the rights enshrined in the African Charter.
The new development not only provides a platform for further advancement of women’s rights notwithstanding of their gender identity or sexual orientation but also creates a sustainable platform for dialogue between the AC and CAL.
CAL is the first NGO handling the rights of sexual minorities to be officially recognized by African Commission; and being granted Observer Status has given hope to all sexual minority organisations that this could be the beginning of a new era as African bodies are becoming more open minded and willing to embrace all continent dwellers without necessarily using culture to criminalise and discriminate against a few.
In a statement released by CAL after being grated Observer Status, they expressed their gratitude to AC for showing commitment to uphold human as demands the principles of the African Charter on Human Right which states: “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.”
The Coalition of African Lesbians [CAL] consists of 19 organisations whose mission is to transform Africa into a continent where lesbian and bisexual women and gender non-conforming people enjoy the full range of human rights, secure in the knowledge that we are recognized as full persons and citizens, with rich and diverse cultures, and enjoy a significant and respected presence in all spheres of life.
CAL comprises of member organisations from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Lesotho Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Rwanda.
Far and Roam Uganda (FARUG), Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and Trans Support Initiative Uganda are some of the establishments that make up CAL.