UK targets LGBT woes in Russia, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria

Jeremy Browne MP Jeremy Browne, minister of state in the British Foreign Office
Jeremy Browne MP Jeremy Browne, minister of state in the British Foreign Office

The United Kingdom cited four trouble spots for LGBT rights in the Foreign Office’s annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy.

In addition to emphasizing the office’s “commitment to the global decriminalisation of homosexuality,” the report cited many of its pro-LGBT-rights activities, but expressed concerns about developments in four countries:

In Russia we have worked with the EU and Council of Europe to lobby the government against introducing a law banning literature promoting homosexuality.

In Cameroon we were instrumental in EU efforts to raise human rights concerns with the government, including for minority groups such as LGBT people.

In Nigeria we have urged the government not to introduce legislation criminalising same-sex marriage.

We are also concerned to see the return in early 2012 of a Private Members Bill which would strengthen the anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda. We have lobbied strongly against the bill and continue to do so. We are working closely with Ugandan civil society groups on this issue, and continue to raise our concerns at the highest levels of the Ugandan government.

The report praised South Africa for introducing the first UN resolution on “Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity” at the UN Human Rights Council. It added:

Despite strong opposition, including contrasting views from their regional neighbours, this resolution was adopted in June. This is the first time that violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity has been addressed by a UN resolution. As FCO Minister of State Jeremy Browne said following adoption of the resolution: “This is a groundbreaking achievement and one which should be celebrated.”

The report also said, “The UK played an instrumental role in building international support for the UN statement on ‘Ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity’ in March. The statement was issued on behalf of 85 countries worldwide – the highest ever number of signatories to a UN statement on this issue.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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