LGBT Rights in the Commonwealth
CHRI London are working on a research and advocacy program on Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Rights in the Commonwealth. The LGBT community face systematic persecution in many Commonwealth states and are often subject to arbitrary arrest, harassment and discrimination. Colonial era laws criminalising sodomy are in force in many states and these laws are the basis of both formal and informal systems of discrimination.
The LGBT community in many states are subject to laws that criminalise them solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. In the same way that the Commonwealth took a bold stand against the apartheid system of government, where systematic violations of individual rights were justified solely on the basis of race, CHRI believe that the Commonwealth should oppose legislation that allows for persecution solely based on an individual’s sexual orientation. To this end CHRI encourages the progressive repeal all legislation criminalising the LGBT community and private acts between consenting adults.
From Monday 11 to Thursday 14 July 2011, Commonwealth Law Ministers are meeting in Sydney. At the Senior Officials of Law Ministries Meeting in London in October 2010, where the agenda for the Law Ministers Meeting was set, the delegates heard submission from CHRI’s partner organisation, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, on the decriminalisation of the laws criminalising the LGBT community. The CLA representative argued that the criminalisation of same-sex relations was unacceptable and argued for the decriminalisation of the laws criminalising same sex conduct. Delegates at the October meeting did not approve this paper for discussion by the Law Ministers and as the meeting Communiqué details the paper received a lukewarm reception. This means that this important issue is not going be discussed by the Law Ministers Meeting.
CHRI Information paper and recommendations regarding the impact of laws criminalising same-sex sexual conduct in the Commonwealth