The vast majority of LGBTI people are shut off from accessing their rights because of social isolation and cultural exclusion. In many African countries same-sex relationships are illegal, or where legal protections do exist, public attitudes have not kept pace with legislative changes. In many communities across Africa the concept of same-sex conduct as ‘un-African’ remains dominant and repressive. This is compounded by the fact that African society is dominated by heterosexist and homo-prejudice sources of information and representation and it remains particularly difficult for the majority of LGBTI people and their allies to find relevant information.
Access to information can be used to inform evidence-based advocacy campaigns to bring about change for LGBTI people and to bridge the gap between theoretical legal positions and the everyday reality for LGBTI persons.
SAHA has developed two new resources it hopes will increase awareness about the right to information within the LGBTI sector and build the capacity of the sector to utilise the right in achieving their advocacy goals and the protection of their human rights:
- Accessing information in the LGBTI Sector – a guide to using the Promotion of Access to Information Act to advance the position of LGBTI persons in South Africa. The guide is designed to assist persons in the LGBTI sector to recognise the important role that access to information can play in the achievement of their advocacy goals. The guide will also help people in the LGBTI sector to make PAIA requests, by providing information on some of the more challenging aspects of using PAIA. You can learn more about the guide, and download a free copy, from SAHA’s website: http://www.saha.org.za/publications/accessing_information_in_the_lgbti_sector.htm
- LGBTI and Access to Information in Africa – how access to information can empower LGBTI people in Africa to promote and protect their rights. The guide is designed to raise awareness of the right to information in Africa, providing details of the legal basis of the right and highlighting the link between access to information and issues facing LGBTI people in the region. You can learn more about the guide, and download a free copy, from SAHA’s website: http://www.saha.org.za/publications/lgbti_and_access_to_information_in_africa.htm
If you would like to know more about SAHA’s freedom of information programme you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: http://www.saha.org.za/about_saha/freedom_of_information_programme.htm
Other resources relating to the right to information developed by SAHA are also available for free downloaded from our website:
PAIA Resource Kit – http://saha.org.za/publications/paia_resource_kit.htm
PAIA Workshop Guide – http://saha.org.za/publications/paia_workshop_guide.htm
PAIA: Case Studies from Civil Society DVD and Guide – http://saha.org.za/publications/paia_case_studies_from_civil_society_dvd.htm