Commonwealth chiefs receive LGBT petition with 104,000 signatures

Next week’s Commonwealth summit urged to end gay ban in 37 countries


London, UK – 11 April 2018

A LGBT rights petition with 104,115 signatures was today delivered to the Commonwealth headquarters in London. It urged the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the 37 Commonwealth nations that still outlaw same-sex relations.

The petition hand-in took place just five days before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London (16-20 April).

See the petition here:

The petition was accepted by the Assistant Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Dr Nabeel Goheer.

It was presented to him by six LGBT+ people of Commonwealth heritage: from Uganda, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Mauritius, Australia and the UK – Edwin Sesange, Beth Granter, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, S Chelvan, Pliny Soocoormanee and Peter Tatchell.

“Over 70% of Commonwealth nations are bastions of homophobic prejudice, discrimination & violence. What are Commonwealth leaders doing about it? Nothing! This petition is telling them it’s time to stop persecuting LGBT+ people,” said petition co-organiser, Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Thirty-seven of the 53 Commonwealth member states criminalise same-sex relations. Nine have life imprisonment. In parts of two Commonwealth countries, Nigeria and Pakistan, homosexuality can result in a death sentence,” added Mr Tatchell.

“Commonwealth leaders have refused to even discuss LGBT+ human rights for six decades. This protest is to tell them: Time’s up on blocking debate. Time’s up on legal discrimination. Time’s up on homophobia, biphobia and transphobia,” he said.

These are the four demands of the petition to the leaders of all Commonwealth nations:

· Decriminalise same-sex relations
· Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
· Enforce laws against threats and violence, to protect LGBT+ people from hate crimes
· Consult and dialogue with national LGBT+ organisations

The petition is supported by: The Commonwealth Equality Network, Kaleidoscope Trust, Peter Tatchell Foundation, UK Black Pride, African Equality Foundation, Equality Network, African Rainbow Family, Movement for Justice, House of Rainbow, Out & Proud African LGBTI, Micro Rainbow, Africa Advocacy Foundation, Rainbow Across Borders, African Eye Trust and Manchester Migrant Solidarity.


Thursday 19 April 1-2pm – During the Commonwealth summit, LGBTs and allies will rally outside the London HQ of the Commonwealth Secretariat against the criminalisation of same-sex relations by 37 out 53 Commonwealth countries and to demand that Commonwealth leaders discuss and redress the persecution of LGBT people in over 70% of member states. We’ll be joined by LGBT+ delegates from across the Commonwealth. The venue is: Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX. Nearest tubes: Green Park, Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross. Map:

Further information:

Simon Harris
Communications and Campaigns Manager
Peter Tatchell Foundation
Email: [email protected]