International diplomacy and African LGBTI Rights – Launch of Unit on Gender, Sexuality and the Law

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, and Intersex (LGBTI) rights have become central to the West’s human rights agenda in Africa. Still, Western countries respond very differently to LGBT rights abuse in Africa.

Assistant Professor Michael Wahman (University of Missouri) will give a presentation of his recent research on LGBTI rights, international diplomacy and leverage on the African continent.

In aid-dependent Malawi donors have been remarkably successful in pushing for LGBTI rights liberalization. In Zambia, government repression has been higher, but Western pressure low. Wahman’s research explores the tools used for the promotion of LGBTI rights in Africa and theorizes about the costs involved in promoting such rights in a highly resistant environment. It looks particularly at four potential diplomatic tools: sanctions, public engagement, silent diplomacy, and local NGO support.

After Wahman’s introduction, Frank Mugisha, LGBT activist from Uganda will share his experence. As the leader of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda) is one of the most central activist in the region, and he is the 2011 Rafto Price laureate.

There will be a discussion with Vegard Vibe (PhD candidate, Department of Comparative Politics), Lise Rakner (Professor, Department of Comparative Politics), and Siri Gloppen (Director, Centre on Law & Social Transformation).

The seminar is launching a new LawTransform unit on Gender, Sexuality & the Law at the Centre on Law & Social Transformation.

There will be finger food and drinks

The event is free and open to all