Irwin Iradukunda

Country representing





  • Light University of Bujumbura; Portland State University; Maastricht University/United Nations University - MERIT
  • BA Management and Administration - Specializing in Social Marketing
  • Development and Human Rights; Strategic Advocacy and Litigation; Civic Leadership; Gender-sensitive Governance; Security and Protection for Human Rights Defenders and Social Organizations; Global Health: M&E Fundamentals

Current organisation


Current role

Director of Programmes

Skills and Expertise


Areas of interest

Sustainable Development

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

I am most passionate about equality and non-discrimination in leadership, governance and development. Because, I believe in civic participation, the right to the full-potential realisation and equal opportunities. Within the context of the principle of universality of human rights, our States make a large room for interpretation in their implementation, when it comes to LGBT issues specifically, because of the existing punitive laws, the shrinking civic space and the silencing of the open dialogue on gender, sexuality and diversity in Africa. While the international human rights system provides some general and specialized conventions, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as a regional body from African States’ willingness has relevancy but still has considerable challenges when it comes to promote equality and non-discrimination, to redress human rights violations. Given to the actual politics around human rights, sovereignty is often invoked to deny allegations on in-country human rights violations or recommendations. The existing set of norms and standards, and mechanisms can therefore lack accuracy to ask for accountability and protect the States’ citizenry from violence, discrimination, access to public health care, education based on their real or imputed sexual orientation and gender identity. Wherever thought about, development must strongly rely on the SDGs and the citizenry participation to achieve those. Therefore, denying LGBT individuals their human rights such as access to health services, education, safe housing, justice, protection from violence, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, economic resources, equal opportunity – does not adhere to the SDGs 1,3,4,5,10,11,16; breaking the promise to a certain cluster of the population.


I work towards Advocacy for Human Rights and Social Development in the areas of LGBTQI and Sex Workers’ rights in Africa. My experiences are both in local and regional organisations. In 2016, I have edited Walking the Tightrope: Poetry and Prose by LGBTQ Writers from Africa, a poetry anthology that seeks to challenge and engage individuals and institutions that consider homosexuality immoral and un-African. The anthology finds its purpose in the fact that in many African countries, individuals are subjected to corporal punishment, imprisonment, or even death sentences, based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The anthology echoes the unheard voices of marginalised Africans that same-sex relationships are not un-African by telling their stories through poetry on desire, confusion, familial isolation, and self-determination. The anthology has valued myself recognition by being featured in the first-ever fiveFilms4freedom 2016 Global List by the British Council – increasing visibility on my work and profile as a LGBT Human Rights Defender. In the same year, I have worked towards advocacy for inclusion and consideration of LGBT and sex workers through the research reports: Turi abande? A Landscape Analysis of the Human Rights of Sex Workers and LGBT Communities in Burundi, Agaciro: A Landscape Analysis of the Human Rights of Sex Workers and LGBT Communities in Rwanda. My addresses through keynotes in public meetings on HIV at national level plus working with the LGBTQ communities has made me one of the recipients of the 2016 Omololu Falobi Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention Research Community Advocacy, by AVAC – Global Advocacy for HIV prevention. The Award was established to pay tribute to the life and work of Omololu Falobi and to highlight the essential role of community advocacy in HIV prevention research.