Organisers of the Commonwealth leaders meeting, which is being held in Sri Lanka this week, are being condemned by human rights organisations for ignoring the criminalisation of LGBTI people. Some 80% of Commonwealth member states, accounting for more than half of the world’s countries where same-sex relations are illegal, punish homosexuality. Six stipulate life imprisonment: Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Pakistan, Uganda, Bangladesh and Guyana.

The Kaleidoscope Trust works to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people internationally. Alistair Stewart, its Assistant Director said: ‘The Commonwealth has consistently refused to address the issue of human rights for LGBTI people and the forthcoming Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka will be no different. More than half of all the countries in the world that still make being gay a crime are in the Commonwealth. This is a stain on an organisation supposedly committed to equal rights for all.’

Edwin Sesange, Director of the African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group, added: ‘Although the Secretary General of the Commonwealth continues to condemn homophobia, we are calling for action. Countries that persecute LGBTI people – such as Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Malawi and Jamaica – should be suspended from the Commonwealth. Homophobia and transphobia are violations of human rights and should be raised at the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka by the Secretary General, Prime Minister David Cameroon and other national leaders. No future Commonwealth meeting should be held in a country that persecutes LGBTI people or violates other human rights.’


You can join a protest in London between 12 noon and 2pm, this Wednesday 13 November at:

Commonwealth HQ, Marlborough House
Corner of Pall Mall and St James’s Street,
London SW1Y 5HX

Nearest tubes: Green Park and Piccadilly Circus.