Sexual orientation, violence and human rights in Africa: South African case study

  • Aimar Rubio Llona

On December 15th, 2014, the defense of the doctoral thesis by Aimar Rubio Llona took place at the Faculty of Economic Science and Business. The thesis titled “Sexual orientation, violence and human rights in Africa: South African case study” has been carried out within the Doctoral Studies Programme in Development Studies and has been supervised by Eduardo Bidaurratzaga Aurre and Mikel Zurbano Irizar.

In it, the author shows that a tendency currently seems to be confirmed by which increasingly more States are progressing in the achievement of inclusive human rights for gay and lesbian people, whereas in Africa the opposite seems to be occurring.  A significant amount of African countries criminalise consensual relations between adults of the same sex, whilst sexual minorities are harassed in contexts of discrimination, homophobic violence and State homophobia. However, South Africa is presented as an exception in the continent; namely, it possesses a legislation that equalises heterosexuals and homosexuals in rights and freedoms, while violence against gays and lesbians is strongly located in the social sphere. Therefore, this study addresses the causality and consequences that discrimination due to sexual orientation and homophobic violence generate in South Africa. The thesis explores the current state of vulnerability and violation of human rights of sexual minorities in Africa, to then specifically analise the South African case in relation to sexual minorities, their identities, activism, visibility/invisibility, discrimination, homophobia and HIV/AIDS amongst others.

The methodology is based on the application of qualitative research techniques, in-depth interviews with relevant actors for the case study.


  • Date

    2014 December 15

Distinction Cum Laude

Thesis supervisor

Research lines

Participation, democracy and human rights
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