Past Events

Activity 5 – South African Regional Civil Society Movement Building

Civil Society Regional Movement Building
December, 2018
The EJA gathered civil society organisations and activists from Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius and South Africa at a Regional Capacity Building Workshop in Johannesburg in December 2018. The Regional Capacity Building Workshop aimed to increase Women’s Rights and LGBT civil society organisations engagement in legislative and policy reform. Discussions sought to identify and strengthen synergies between women’s rights and LGBT+ movements in Africa, to agree common advocacy priorities and strategies for legal and policy reform, and to build sustainable movements based on the experiences and efforts of the various of national and regional organisations present. National advocacy plans were created to focus on legal reform of discriminatory laws, equal protection for all and state accountability.

Activity 4 – Botswana Civil Society Convening

Civil Society National Country Convening
November, 2018
The EJA convened a national meeting of civil society LGBT and women’s rights organisations in Botswana in November 2018. The event provided a space for diverse civil society organisations to come together to deliberate, discuss and build consensus around intersectional discrimination and how to develop shared platforms for advocacy and legal reform to enhance equality and protection for all. The specific country context of Botswana and the challenges posed by strong patriarchal structures, conservative cultural gender norms and limited civil society space were also considered in discussions that focused on how to achieve inclusive national movement building and civil society organisational sustainability.

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Activity 3 – Commonwealth Africa Regional Dialogue in Johannesburg

EJA Commonwealth Africa High-level Regional Dialogue
November, 2018
Strengthening Equality and Equal Protection of the Law – Reforming laws that discriminate

The EJA High-level Dialogue brought together 25 senior officials, legislative experts, lawmakers and political champions in legislative reform from across Commonwealth Africa to share experiences of reforming discriminatory laws and policies to advance equality and challenge structural and systemic discrimination. The opening address was given by the Deputy Minister of Justice of South Africa, Honourable John Jeffery and the keynote speech by Independent Expert Member of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights Professor Michelo Hansungule.

The event provided an opportunity for pan-Commonwealth knowledge exchange and discussion, and the following EJA-commissioned Legal Reform Case Studies were presented:
  • Reform of the Mozambique Penal Code in 2014, by Gender Links Advisor Kubi Rama
  • Reform of the Indian Penal Code and laws related to sexual offences by the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2014 by Indian Supreme Court Advocate Vrinda Grover
  • Incorporating public participation into the law-making process in Namibia, by Namibian Ministry of Justice Secretary to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation, Anél van der Vyver

Activity 2 – Mauritius Civil Society Convening

Civil Society National Country Convening
November, 2018
The EJA convened a national meeting of civil society LGBT and women’s rights organisations in Mauritius in November 2018. The event provided a space for diverse civil society organisations to come together to deliberate, discuss and build consensus around intersectional discrimination and how to use a common understanding of discrimination and lack of quality to build shared platforms for advocacy and legal reform. The convening was also an opportunity to discuss different organisational and personal experiences and strategies for local advocacy on legislative reform and to identify data and research gaps that can help build evidence and the case for reform at the national level.

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Activity 1 – Primary Round Tables

London Roundtables & Dialogues
July - August, 2018
The EJA held three seminal roundtables in London between July and August 2018. We brought together over 40 officials, MPs, lawyers, academics and civil society leaders, representing 20 Commonwealth countries, to take part in in-depth discussions on current developments and legal reform initiatives across the Commonwealth, barriers and opportunities for legal reform, and the current priorities of women’s rights and LGBT rights organisations across the Commonwealth.

1. Legal Experts Roundtable – July 2018

The EJA brought together a group of legal experts, practitioners, academics and lawyers in July 2018 to assess developments and current failings in legislative protections for specific forms of violence (including domestic violence, rape, child marriage, criminalisation of same sex relationships, hate crime and new emerging forms of violence). The dialogue took a deep dive into three legislative areas: (i) anti-discrimination legislation; (ii) sexual offences legislation; (iii) religious and family laws. Presentations given by invited experts included those from Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chair, Kagwiria Mbogori, CEDAW Committee member (Bahamas), Marion Bethel and International Commission of Jurists Senior Legal Advisor, Livio Zilli.

2. Government & Parliamentary Champions Roundtable – August 2018

This event brought together Members of Parliament (current and former), heads of Government Institutions and Government lawmakers to discuss the legal reform process and priority areas for reform related to women and girls and LGBT individuals. It also included discussions around key actors and obstacles to reform and strategies for engaging with faith leaders, parliamentary caucuses and regional inter-governmental organisations and bodies. Specific to this dialogue was a plenary discussion on how to build a network and coalition of Champions to work to catalyse change at the national level.

3. Civil Society Roundtable – August 2018

This EJA Roundtable event brought together women’s rights and LGBT activists and leaders to discuss good practice for engaging governments and national institutions, regional blocs and international human rights mechanisms to push for legislative reform. There were sessions on experiences and challenges to ensure inclusive movement building, requirements for legal capacity building, and strategies and methods to empower and engage youth activists. Presentations to catalyse discussion and reflection were given by, Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Executive Director, Kenita Placide and Gender Links Chief Executive Officer, Colleen Lowe Morna.