Steve Letsike, the director of Access Chapter 2, is a local and international LGBTI activist who has worked closely with the South African Government around constitutional reform and gender justice. In light of the Latin American Core Group (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay) which has recently tabled the SOGI resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, we asked Steve to weigh in on why she thinks the South African government should vote for a UN SOGI Expert and what this would mean for LGBTI activism on a global level.
In many countries, LGBTI communities and activists are criminalized and persecuted daily. Globally, the fight for LGBTI rights to be recognized and included in the human rights frameworks of various countries and regional bodies is still a long way from victory. The Latin American Core Group (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay) has now officially tabled the SOGI resolution at the UN Human Rights Council. In South Africa, the government has made various commitments in the constitution to uphold and protect personal freedoms including those of the LGBTI community. Therefore, it becomes imperative that the South African government votes affirmative for a UN SOGI expert. In South Africa, we spoke to Yasmin Sooka, who has been involved in many UN processes and has served as a UN Special Rapporteur for torture in Sri Lanka, in order to get her perspective on what a UN SOGI Expert would mean for LGBTI activism globally.