Report reveals Commonwealth nations rife with homophobia
A new report conducted by LGBTI lobby group, Kaleidoscope Trust, has revealed alarming levels of homophobia and transphobia in four out of five Commonwealth nations.
With the Commonwealth Games set to take place in Glasgow during the European summer, the report shows there is much to be done in the Commonwealth’s commitment to human rights prior to the Games.
The Kaleidoscope report, titled Speaking Out: The rights of LGBTI citizens from across the Commonwealth reveals some shocking information.
Of the 53 member nations of the Commonwealth, 41 criminalise consensual same-sex behaviour between adults. Seven of these Commonwealth states stipulate life imprisonment. Two have Sharia law in certain regions - Pakistan and Nigeria - where the maximum penalty is execution.
Homophobic criminalisation, prejudice, discrimination and violence is routine - and occurs with impunity - in 80% of Commonwealth countries. In 2011 the Commonwealth Secretary-General finally made a declaration against homophobia, but little has been done for LGBTI rights since that time. Homosexuality has been recriminalized in India, their are gay bashings in Cameroon and anti gay laws have been enacted in Uganda and Nigeria.
The Kaleidoscope Trust explains in its report why we should be challenging these human rights abuses.
Compiled with input from LGBTI people in many Commonwealth countries, it presents graphic evidence of the immense oppression suffered by LGBTI people, including first-hand testimony from victims of homophobia nd transphobia.
The report urges all Commonwealth governments to repeal legislation criminalising same-sex behaviour and, to agree a moratorium on the enforcement of any such existing laws.
Dr Purna Sen, former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwelath Secretariat said: "This cannot go on. Rightly lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people are demanding that they be recognised and that their rights – which are exactly the same rights to which every other Commonwealth citizen is or should be afforded – are protected under the law.
"The immediate demands outlined are simple and speak for themselves. By themselves they would not deliver the equality to which LGBTI people are entitled, but they would show that the Commonwealth is sincere when it claims to be an organization that believes in universal human rights applicable to all persons throughout the Commonwealth in accordance with the principles of international law."