Commonwealth leaders will face LGBT+ protest at Westminster

LGBT+ protest Monday 11 March, 12 noon to 3pm, outside Westminster Abbey


Leaders of 30 Commonwealth countries that criminalise LGBTs will attend the Commonwealth’s 75th anniversary service at the Abbey. Shamefully, they’ll be welcomed by the Church of England and the UK Government.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation is coordinating a protest from 12 noon as homophobic leaders arrive. It will include LGBT+ people who have fled victimisation and violence in Commonwealth countries.

Peter Tatchell said:

“As the Commonwealth celebrates, we mourn! We are calling out the 30 Commonwealth leaders who violate the equality principles of their own constitutions and the Commonwealth Charter. They preside over the state-sanctioned persecution of their LGBT+ citizens. 

“Thirty out of 56 Commonwealth countries criminalise homosexuality, mostly under laws imposed by Britain during the nineteenth century when it was the colonial power. Six Commonwealth countries have life imprisonment. Millions of LGBT+ Commonwealth citizens are at risk of arrest, jail time, mob violence and discrimination in employment, housing, education and health care.  

“These anti-LGBT+ laws violate the Commonwealth Charter which pledges that all member states are ‘committed to equality’ and are ‘opposed to all forms of discrimination.’

“Most Commonwealth leaders refuse to recognise that LGBT+ rights are human rights. For 75 years, they’ve vetoed any discussion of the issue at their heads of government meetings.

”Countries that criminalise LGBT+ people should be suspended from the Commonwealth,” said Mr Tatchell.

The protest is urging all Commonwealth governments to:

  • 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 their LGBT+ organisations

NOTE: The six Commonwealth countries that have a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for same-sex acts are: Bangladesh, Guyana, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda.