A petition has been launched urging the South African government to take action against widespread homophobia on the continent.

The preamble to the online petition – initiated by Jason Barber from SA GLAAD – notes that “…member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) have blatantly homophobic laws.

“In countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe and many others, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community are imprisoned, tortured and murdered because of their sexuality.”

It further says, “Our government, the most powerful and influential of SADC, and possibly Africa, has a duty to the region to uphold the rights of all people, not just South Africans. They have failed the LGBT community before when they failed to sign the United Nations Declaration to decriminalise homosexually. We cannot allow them to fail us again.”

The petition calls on the South African Government, the Department of International Relations, and ambassadors to SADC and AU states and the UN to pursue equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across Africa.

It suggests a number of steps be taken by the government including pressuring SADC and AU member states into relaxing homophobic laws, putting the issue of homophobia on the these organisations’ agendas and finally, signing the United Nations declaration calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

To view or sign the petition, visit

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