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LGBTI petition delivered to Commonwealth HQ

Human-rights-placard-no-logo-262x300A 2,500-signature LGBTI petition has been delivered to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. It calls on Commonwealth institutions and member states to take action to ensure LGBTI decriminalisation, equality and protection against discrimination. 

Currently, 42 of the 53 Commonwealth nations criminalise same-sex relations, with penalties ranging up to life imprisonment and execution.

Priyanka Chauhan, Acting Head of the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Office, received the petition at the Secretariat’s headquarters, Marlborough House, on Friday 12 September 2014.

The petition was presented by a joint delegation, which included Scott Cuthbertson of the Equality Network, Philippa Drew and Anna Shepherd of the Kaleidoscope Trust and Peter Tatchell of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

The petition signatures were gathered before, during and after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this July.

The petition was addressed to Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, and read:

To the Commonwealth Secretary General

Of the 53 member states of the Commonwealth, 42 continue to criminalise consensual adult same-sex relationships, with maximum penalties in some states of life imprisonment or execution. Across the Commonwealth, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people are denied equal access to rights, education, employment, housing and healthcare.

We call on Commonwealth member states to:

1.Immediately stop applying laws that criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex (LGBTI) people and limit their access to human rights.

2.Work with local LGBTI and human rights groups to better understand the struggles they face in accessing their human rights..

We also call on the Commonwealth Secretariat to:

1.Work with member states to uphold the Commonwealth Charter in full, by developing a shared understanding of the required non-discrimination grounds as including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

2.Work with member states to meaningfully include LGBTI rights into national human rights frameworks.

3.Work with LGBTI groups across the Commonwealth to better understand the struggles they face in accessing their human rights.

In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, the Equality Network, together with partner organisations, held a ‘LGBTI Human Rights in the Commonwealth’ conference, gathering together activists from across the Commonwealth. 

The conference issued the following declaration: