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LGBTIQ+ rights: Italian Special Envoy Fabrizio Petri on a mission in South Africa

Today, the Italian Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTIQ+ people, Fabrizio Petri, ended his three-day mission in South Africa, where he met with political, institutional and civil society representatives, with the aim of intensifying and promoting cooperation and dialogue between Italy and South Africa on the protection of the human rights of LGBTQI+ people. “It was an extremely positive visit, which allowed us to establish the first contacts with the Government and the South African LGBTQI+ community, to exchange information and best practices and lay the foundations for a collaboration with Italy on the rights of LGBTQI+ people” commented the Special Envoy.

Special Envoy Petri’s visit began with a fruitful meeting with the Director General for Human Rights at the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Francis Moloi, with whom he discussed the current situation and the commitment of the two countries, at national and multilateral level, in support of the human rights of LGBTQI+ people, followed by a conversation with the Director of the Center for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria Frans Viljoen. In a wide-ranging dialogue at the residence of the Italian Ambassador Paolo Cuculi, Petri spoke with representatives of some of the main South African NGOs active on the human rights of LGBTQI+ people.

On the second day of the mission, the Special Envoy had a useful conversation with the President of the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Bongani Christopher Majola, followed by a meeting with Rev. Toni Kruger-Ayebazibwe, Executive Director of Global Interfaith Network, an organization that creates safe spaces for people of all sexual orientations, identities and gender expressions. Petri was then able to visit the Johannesburg Court and meet the Rector of the University of Stellenbosch and former constitutional judge, Edwin Cameron.

Today the Envoy, in Cape Town, first met the President of the Parliament of Western Cape Masizole Mnqasela and the Vice President Beverley Schaefer, and then members of Parliament of the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. The mission ended with a meeting with Imam Muhsin Hendricks, very active in the struggle for the recognition of homosexual men and women through his congregation.

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