Événements passés

Singapore Legal Expert Group Meetings — Singapore, April 2019

Singapore Legal Expert Group Meetings
APRIL, 2019
In April 2019, Human Dignity Trust (HDT) and Sisters For Change (SFC), on behalf of the EJA, brought together senior legal and policy experts from across the Commonwealth in Singapore to share expertise, technical knowledge and personal experiences of reforming constitutional, criminal and civil laws that discriminate against women and girls and LGBT people and drafting laws to strengthen the equality of women and girls and LGBT people under the law.

Human Dignity Trust Legal Expert Group Meeting

HDT, on behalf of the EJA, convened a meeting of seven experts across law, politics and academia, bringing a wealth of expertise in researching, reforming and implementing sexual offences and hate crimes legislation, to ensure women and girls and LGBT people do not suffer discrimination under the law. The purpose of the convening was to consolidate and expand the Group of Experts, continue to leverage expert knowledge to support countries receiving technical assistance, and to share findings and lessons learned across EJA activities.

Sessions were peer led by the Group of Experts and followed by a group discussion on the topic at hand. Expert-led sessions were held on the following topics:

  • Lessons from Belize’s Reform Journey: From Sexual Offences Law Reform to Hate Crimes Legislation, led by Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children and Spouse of the Prime Minister of Belize;
  • The Reform of Sexual Offences Laws in Palau: Lessons Learned, led by John Bradley, former Attorney General of Palau
  • SOGI-based Hate Crimes in the Commonwealth: Contextual Analysis, led by Eric Gitari, LGBT Human Rights Expert and author of an EJA report on this subject
  • Legislating to Protect against SOGI-based Hate Crimes: An Analysis of Options and Good Practice, led by Dr. Kay Goodall, Hate Crimes Legislation Expert who, with Dr. Mark Walters, drafted an EJA report on this subject
  • Report on Good Practice in Human Rights Compliant Sexual Offences Laws in the Commonwealth, led by Indira Rosenthal, Adviser and Consultant on Gender, Law and Justice, one of the authors of an EJA report on this subject
The group also attended a learning exchange with the Singaporean Minister of Law and Home Affairs and his staff, who explained the reforms being made to the Singaporean Penal Code, including strengthening rape provisions beyond the male perpetrator/female victim binary and repealing the marital rape exemption.

Sisters For Change Legal Expert Group Meeting

SFC, on behalf of the EJA, brought together nine independent legal experts from a range of legal disciplines, including supreme court judges and advocates, UN CEDAW committee members, legal practitioners and academics and legislative counsel from across the Commonwealth. The Meeting included expert-led technical presentations on constitutional and criminal law reform, anti-discrimination and equality law, and key developments in reform of personal laws and sexual offences legislation designed to inform the ongoing comparative legal research SFC has commissioned as part of the EJA programme and to support the three technical assistance programmes SFC is delivering in Namibia, Saint Lucia and Samoa.

The Meeting comprised a range of technical presentations and discussions which included:

  • A technical analysis of the constitutional reform process in Kenya 2010 by Chaloka Beyani, Professor of Law at the London School of Economics (LSE) and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
  • A presentation of the interim findings of a comparative legal review of anti-discrimination and equality legislation across the Commonwealth by Aileen McColgan, Professor of Law at the University of Leeds and Barrister at 11KBW, London
  • A comparative review of marital rape legislation across the Commonwealth by Marion Bethel, Attorney and CEDAW Committee Member, The Bahamas with a response from Florida Kabasinga, Managing Partner at Certa Law Chambers, Kigali, Rwanda
  • A detailed analysis of legislative reform of personal laws relating to marriage and family relations by Aruna Narain, Supreme Court Judge, Mauritius and CEDAW Committee Member
  • A comparative analysis of models of harassment laws across the Commonwealth by Dianne Hubbard, Director of the Gender Research & Advocacy Project at the Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia
  • A technical analysis of criminal law reform in India in 2013/14 by Vrinda Grover, Supreme Court Advocate, New Delhi, India
  • A presentation on gender-based violence in the Pacific Island Region by Hansdeep Singh, Co-founder of the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination, USA
  • A technical discussion on the complexity of legislative drafting in plural legal systems led by Sharon Murdock, Legislative Drafter at the Office of Legislative Counsel, Northern Ireland and Member of the Commonwealth Association of Legal Counsel
The Expert Meeting consolidated the advisory and technical role of the Group of Experts and provided the opportunity to discuss the structure and work plan for future Expert Meetings in 2019/2020.

EJA High-Level Caribbean Dialogue — Saint Lucia, April 2019

EJA Commonwealth Caribbean High-Level Dialogue
April, 2019
The High-Level Dialogue convened more than thirty parliamentary, government, civil society and youth champions from across the Commonwealth Caribbean to exchange knowledge of their work advancing equality across the region. Participants discussed in plenary and in national break-out groups the key opportunities and challenges in the Caribbean to advance equality before the law, and how this could be achieved. Regional experts presented case studies to the group on the following topics:

  • The reform of Belize's sexual offences legislation, presented by former Belize Minister and former Ambassador of Children, Gender and HIV/AIDS, Dolores Balderamos-García
  • The journey to safe, legal, accessible abortion in the Caribbean, presented by academic, poet and activist Taitu Heron
  • Engagement with youth to advance legislative reform, presented by Alicia Wallace, Director of Equality Bahamas

Civil Society Regional Movement Building – Caribbean, March 2019

Organisation multi-pays de la société civile
L'EJA organisera une réunion nationale de la société civile LGBT et d'organisations de défense des droits des femmes à Sainte-Lucie en mars 2019. L'objectif est de fournir un espace où les activistes de la société civile et les défenseurs des droits de l'homme se rassemblent pour débattre et parvenir à un consensus sur la discrimination intersectionnelle et le développement. plates-formes partagées pour le plaidoyer juridique. Les priorités, groupes et acteurs spécifiques à chaque pays seront au centre des discussions sur les défis et les possibilités de créer une réforme juridique des lois discriminatoires dans les Caraïbes orientales.

Civil Society National Country Convening — Namibia, February 2019

Civil Society National Country Convening
The EJA brought together civil society organisations and activists in Windhoek, Namibia on 13-15 February to discuss intersections between women and girls' rights and LGBT rights. The vibrant and diverse representations of organisations, from women's rights organisations to those working with sex workers and trans women, was instrumental in creating rich discussions on the importance of intersectionality – both to ensure recognition for the rights of diverse people, as well as to build a movement where a common agenda can be built. Leaders from the women's rights movements shared their personal and political journeys and how solidarity within the women's movement – working together and collective advocacy – was the driving force behind the rights won for women, for example the 50/50 campaign in Namibia in the post-Freedom era.

We're excited that Namibian organisations recognise the strength of intersectional movements and we're looking forward to hearing about their second-round discussions where they will draw up their advocacy plans.

EJA Forum for Commonwealth Parliamentarians, Cape Town, February 2019

EJA Forum for Commonwealth Parliamentarians
The EJA Forum brought together more than 30 parliamentary, government, civil society and youth champions from all four regions of the Commonwealth to engage in peer learning around the reform of discriminatory laws. Utilising case studies of reforms that have been undertaken in the Commonwealth, delegates learned more about reform processes and how these might be applicable in their own countries. We were honoured to be joined by high-level guests including the former presidents of Mozambique and Botswana, Their Excellencies Festus Mogae and Joaquim Chissano.

Highlights included:

  • A pre-Forum youth strategy day brought together six young leaders from across the Commonwealth to strategise youth action for change
  • An opening speech set the context for working in the Commonwealth by former Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Josephine Ojiambo
  • Legislative reform case study presentations by regional experts from all four Commonwealth regions, which included: reform of the Mozambique Penal Code; Belize sexual offences reform; the Solomon Islands Family Protection Act; Pakistan's Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act
  • A tour for delegates of the Parliament of South Africa, provided by the South African Government
  • A closing speech by HE Joaquim Chissano, Former President of Mozambique