Civil Society Regional Movement Building
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.
Civil Society National Country Convening
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.
EJA Commonwealth Africa High-level Regional Dialogue
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
Civil Society National Country Convening
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.
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.