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Commonwealth chiefs receive LGBT 104,000 strong petition

RIGHTS: Protestors against homophobia in the Commonwealth

A LGBT rights petition with 104,115 signatures was delivered yesterday (Apr 11) 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 was accepted by the Assistant Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Dr Nabeel Goheer, and took place just five days before the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London (16-20 April).

It was presented to Goheer 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 and 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 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.”

The petition is supported has been supported by numerous organisations including; The Commonwealth Equality Network, Kaleidoscope Trust, 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.

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