International report on homophobic Commonwealth endorsed

Published: November 11, 2013

 Rainbow Wellington joined the biggest ever coalition of LGBTI organisations from across the Commonwealth to contribute to a damning report which demands Commonwealth leaders take action to stop widespread human rights abuses against LGBTI people.

 
Rainbow Wellington, along with all of the New Zealand LGBTI community, celebrated the passing of Louisa Wall’s marriage equality act this year. At the same time homosexuality is still illegal in 41 of the 53 Commonwealth member states, Rainbow Wellington Chair Rawa Karetai emphasised.
 
Abuses, including attempted murder, beatings and harassment are described in the Speaking Out report, recently published by the Kaleidoscope Trust, with contributions from over 20 LGBTI organisations and testimonies of homophobia from almost every Commonwealth state. The Kaleidoscope Trust is a UK based charity working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people internationally.
 
"The report describes lots of frightening stories of violence and discrimination against members of our communities across the Commonwealth," Rawa said. "These are issues that our Government needs to urgently raise with our Commonwealth partners."
 
"Rainbow Wellington, on behalf of the Commonwealth GLBTI community, supports the recommendations of the Speaking Out report. John Key voted for marriage equality this year in New Zealand’s Parliament. We expect that his Government will actively advocate for the right for all of the Commonwealth’s GLBTI citizens to be free from violence and discrimination," Rainbow Wellington Chair Rawa Karetai stated.
 
The report, which is backed by Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth and Dr Purna Sen, former Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth, demands the Commonwealth take action to address this injustice.
 
"It is a reminder that for most of the countries of the Commonwealth, the desecration of our fellow citizens began in the law that was introduced by … As with the abolition of slavery, the decriminalisation of homosexuality in our time must be an act of law," says Sir Shridath Ramphal, in his Foreword to Speaking Out.
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