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Urge Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting 2018 to have equality theme & support LGBTI rights

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The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in the UK in 2018. We urge the CHOGM 2018 organisers to adopt the theme: “A diverse and equal Commonwealth,” and to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) human rights on the main CHOGM agenda and to invite openly LGBTI people from the Commonwealth to address the CHOGM leaders.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has never in its entire six-decade history discussed LGBTI human rights. The time has come. 

Forty out of the  53 member countries of the Commonwealth criminalise same-sex relations. They account for more than half of the world’s nations where homosexuality is illegal. Most of these countries inherited their anti-gay laws from Britain during the period of colonial rule; making these laws a colonial hang-over.

Seven of these 40 countries impose  life imprisonment for same-sex acts and there is the death penalty in parts of northern Nigeria, rural Pakistan and, soon, in Brunei. 

Hate crimes against LGBTI people often pass unchecked in most Commonwealth countries, with frequent mob violence. The vast majority of LGBTIs living in Commonwealth states have no legal protection against discrimination in employment, housing and the provision of goods and services. 

This makes a mockery of  Commonwealth values and the Commonwealth Charter 2013.

Four out of five Commonwealth countries, which are signatories to the Charter, have failed to adhere to its principles and the Commonwealth has failed to ensure that these nations respect the human rights of their LGBTI citizens.

We urge CHOGM 2018 to lead the way in raising awareness of LGBTI rights as human rights and to act to remedy LGBTI rights abuses.  

This petition is sponsored by the African LGBTI OUT and Proud Diamond Group and the Peter Tatchell Foundation 

 



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