Common Rights

Despite the Commonwealth's formal commitment to democracy, human rights, equality and individual freedom, human rights abuses are widespread throughout most member states. These abuses variously include state executions, censorship, torture, detention without trial and restrictions on free speech and the right to protest. There is also frequent state-sanctioned discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion or belief.

42 of the 53 Commonwealth member states criminalise same-sex relations, with penalties ranging up to life imprisonment. These member states account for over half the countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality.

In May 2011, Peter Tatchell and the PTF succeeded in securing the first ever public commitment to LGBT rights by a Commonwealth Secretary General. Subsequent lobbying led to this commitment being reiterated at the Commonwealth Law Minister's Meeting in July, and again at the Commonwealth People's Forum in October that year.

We are now pushing to get LGBT rights formally adopted by the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The PTF is urging all Commonwealth countries to:

  1. Decriminalise homosexuality
  2. Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  3. Enforce laws against threats and violence, to protect LGBT people from hate crimes
  4. Consult and dialogue with LGBT organisations

For News Releases and more information click here.

Take Action

If you want to help us end the criminalisation of homosexuality by Commonwealth member states, please email the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma: secretary-general@commonwealth.int

Thank him for speaking out against homophobia. Ask him to press the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and the CHOGM task force to press all member states to decriminalise same-sex relations and to protect LGBT people against discrimination and hate crimes.

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