Global human rights NGO Human Rights Watch has declared the brutal rape and murder of a South African lesbian a hate crime. Noxolo Nogwaza, a GLBT activist, was stabbed and stoned to death in KwaThema township.

Nogwaza’s body was found in an alleyway on the morning of April 24. Her face was completely destroyed and her body had been stabbed all over with broken glass.

“Nogwaza’s death is the latest in a long series of sadistic crimes against lesbians, gay men, and transgender people in South Africa,” Human Rights Watch researcher Dipika Nath said.

South Africa’s constitution enshrines the rights of sexual minorities but police do not consider homophobic bias when investigating a crime.

Lesbian activist Eudy Simelane was raped and murdered in KwaThema in 2008 and a gay man narrowly escaped with his life after being attacked by a mob there in 2010.

“Eudy’s case was not recognised as a hate crime against a lesbian and the same is not done in the cases of many other people who have been raped … or murdered on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity [or] expression in South Africa,” KwaThema township GLBT rights activist Ntsupe said.

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