An LGBT rights petition delivered today to the Commonwealth headquarters in London included 104,115 signatures. Its aim is to urge the decriminalization of homosexuality in the 37 Commonwealth nations that still outlaw same-sex relations. The petition hand-in took place just five days before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on April 16–20.
See the petition here: https://tinyurl.com/y6uzqyqc
Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Dr. Nabeel Goheer, accepted the petition.
It was presented to Dr. Goheer by six LGBT people of Commonwealth heritage: from Uganda, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Mauritius, Australia and the UK — Edwin Sesange, Beth Granter, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, S Chelvan, Pliny Soocoormanee, and Peter Tatchell.
“Over 70 percent of Commonwealth nations are bastions of homophobic prejudice, discrimination, and violence. What are Commonwealth leaders doing about it? Nothing! This petition is telling them it’s time to stop persecuting LGBT+ people,” said petition co-organizer, Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Thirty-seven of the 53 Commonwealth member states criminalize same-sex relations. Nine have life imprisonment. In areas of two Commonwealth countries, Nigeria and Pakistan, homosexuality can result in a death sentence.`
In fact, Commonwealth leaders have moreover refused to even discuss LGBT+ human rights for six decades. This protest is to tell them: ‘Time’s up on blocking debate. Time’s up on legal discrimination. Time’s up on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia'” added Tatchell.
The four demands of the LGBT rights petition to the leaders of all Commonwealth nations include:
· Decriminalize same-sex relations
· Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
· Enforce laws against threats and violence, to protect LGBT people from hate crimes
· Consult and dialogue with national LGBT organizations
Additionally, the petition is supported by The Commonwealth Equality Network, Kaleidoscope Trust,UK Black Pride, African Equality Foundation, Equality Network, African Rainbow Family, Movement for Justice, House of Rainbow, Out & Proud African LGBTI, Micro Rainbow, Africa Advocacy Foundation, Rainbow Across Borders, African Eye Trust, Manchester Migrant Solidarity, and notably the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
During the Commonwealth summit on April 19, LGBTs and allies will rally together outside the London HQ of the Commonwealth Secretariat against the criminalization of same-sex relations to demand Commonwealth leaders discuss and address the persecution of LGBT people.