Book launch: Strategic Litigation and the Struggle for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equality in Africa

Date, time: 18 February 2021, 17.15-18.15

Venue: Zoom / YouTube

Welcome to the launch of “Strategic Litigation and the Struggle for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equality in Africa”, written by Dr. Adrian Jjuuko, Ugandan human rights lawyer and advocate.

Adrian Jjuuko will discuss his book with Frans Viljoen (University of Pretoria), Thomas M. Keck (Syracuse University), Ayodele Sogunro (University of Pretoria) and Satang Nabaneh (University of Pretoria). Siri Gloppen (UiB/LawTransform) will moderate.

Book Content: There is a rise in the use of litigation to advance equality for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) persons. In Africa, this takes place against the backdrop of massive homophobia. In the past two decades, 30 strategic cases have been filed by LGB activists in Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. Many have been successful in court—but have not resulted in significant change on the ground. On the contrary, court victories often seem to have caused a backlash: counter-mobilisation, violence against LGB persons, and in some cases further criminalisation of same-sex relations and constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriage. The author argues that the goal should remain: the law and the general public should treat LGB persons in the same way that heterosexuals are treated, but for strategic litigation to spur social change, activists have to design litigation that better fits the actual social and political conditions in their countries.

You can access the book on LawTransform website:

Book is part of the LawTransform project Political determinants of sexual and reproductive health: Criminalisation, health impacts and game changers.

Adrian Jjuuko is a Ugandan human rights lawyer and advocate. He holds a doctorate in law (LLD) from the University of Pretoria, and is the founder and Executive Director of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF). He coordinates strategic litigation efforts on LGBT rights in Uganda, and was instrumental in the successful prosecution of the case that led to the nullification of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014.

Frans Viljoen (MA, LLB, LLD (Pretoria); LLM (Cambridge)) is Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. He is also the academic co-ordinator of the LLM on Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, presented by the Centre, in collaboration with eleven partner law faculties across Africa. Frans has published numerous articles dealing with international human rights law, and the book International human rights law in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2007). He has further acted as consultant to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Organization of African Unity/African Union. The University of Pretoria has acknowledged him as an exceptional achiever, and the South African National Research Foundation recognised as an internationally recognised researcher.

Thomas M. Keck is the Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics and Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University‘s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a LawTransform Research Affiliate. He is currently leading a large-scale, collaborative project, funded by Carnegie and the U.S. National Science Foundation, on the political beneficiaries of free expression jurisprudence worldwide. Professor Keck received his B.A. in Politics from Oberlin College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University.

Ayodele Sogunro is a Nigerian writer, social entrepreneur and lawyer. He has years of field and courtroom experience in law and advocacy. His most recent focus is on the protection of sexual minorities in Nigeria and Africa. His literary essay, ‘One more bound in freedom: Themes from the Nigerian “anti-gay” law’ was shortlisted for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award for African Writing. He holds a masters degree in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa from the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and is currently undergoing doctoral research in sexual and reproductive rights, from a critical legal studies perspective, at the University of Pretoria.

Satang Nabaneh is a legal scholar and consultant with more than 10 years of experience in the field, and a LawTransform Research Affiliate. She holds a doctoral degree from the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria where she researched and managed various research projects on human rights, gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Satang is also the founder and editor of Law Hub Gambia, a repository of consolidated legal resources on The Gambia.