LGBT rights are not un-African

Peter Tatchell says no, the new Commonwealth Charter is not a big victory for LGBT rights.

Not surprisingly, the Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states. They blocked its inclusion.

This makes the Queen’s charter signing even less of a big deal. It is certainly not the breakthrough for LGBT rights that some people are claiming.

Yemisi Ilesanmi says the same thing on her Facebook page Freedom to Love for ALL: Homosexuality is not un-African.

Members of Commonwealth nations include UK, Australia, Canada, Uganda, Nigeria (my home country), Ghana, India etc, I can assure you that the ‘Other grounds’ clause is not new to many of commonwealth member nations and they are not novice to the term ‘Sexual orientation’.

Nope, it is not about confusing them or the issue, it is also not about “They are not there yet and so we must be patient in them getting to the place where they can comfortably say Gays and lesbians and Trans etc”. It is about their refusal to accept LGBTs as persons deserving of human rights.

As a Nigerian openly Bisexual woman, I do not think in this age and day, I must cower in a corner waiting patiently for my government to accept I am a human being entitled to all inalienable fundamental human right. As it is, Nigeria lawmakers are almost sailing through to pass a law that would put me in jail for 14 years for my sexual orientation. I do not wish to be a refugee or asylum seeker; therefore I must put pressure on all ‘democratic’ organizations that my country belongs to and encourage such organizations to speak out against such blatant violations of human rights. Commonwealth is one of these organizations and its failure to condemn the blatant violations of human rights by many of its member nations is something that deserves an outcry, not praise, not patience, not media contortions, but an outright outrage.

Yes!! That’s speaking out.


  1. says

    Tatchell says basically the same thing in The Pink News, but a bit more bare-knuckled.

    I cannot imagine fighting for human rights in countries like Nigeria. Or Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Gambia, Seychelles, Zambia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Brunei, or any of the other Commonwealth countries where merely claiming those rights can mean fines, years in prison, even homicide by jury.

  2. says

    And Wikipedia to the rescue, with an article on LGBT rights in the Commonwealth of Nations. There are 41 in total where homosexuality is a criminal offense, out of 54 current member states* : 14 in Africa, 7 in Asia, 9 in Oceana and 11 in the Americas. Right below that is a link to the Wikipedia’s article on LGBT rights by country or territory.

    * Fiji is technically a Commonwealth member, but is suspended. Homosexuality is legal there.

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