It’s time for the Commonwealth to have a voice on LGBT rights, activists say

Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha Activists are hoping to use this week’s Commonwealth summit to address the ongoing harm caused by Colonial-era anti-LGBT laws.

This week delegations from 52 countries across the world will head to London for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to discuss a wide range of policy issues.

But LGBT activists will be fighting for space on the agenda.

36 of the 52 countries in the Commonwealth continue to criminalise same-sex acts, primarily under laws imposed during the British Colonial era that were never repealed.

Worldwide, more than a billion people continue to live under Commonwealth anti-LGBT laws, and while there has been some progress – Belize, Seychelles and Mozambique have decriminalised in recent years – the situation is worsening in countries like Uganda and Nigeria.

As leaders head to London this week, activists are hoping for frank discussions about LGBT rights.For many, the voice of the British government – which was ultimately responsible for imposing the laws – is crucial in making clear that the laws were a mistake.Pakistani activist Qasim Iqbal of the Naz Male Health Alliance said: “We have this wonderful opportunity, because CHOGM is going to take place here in the United Kingdom, and […]