Commonwealth nations have been unwilling to talk formally about dropping the anti-LGBT laws that remain on the books in 40 of the 53 countries that once were part of the British Empire.
That might change in 2018, says the next secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who is a citizen both in the United Kingdom and in Dominica, where she was born.
She was named as the next secretary-general on Nov. 27 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta.
She told The Independent that she would “absolutely” be talking to member states about LGBTI rights early in her term in office. But she acknowledged that she might not succeed in getting the topic on the agenda for the next CHOGM meeting in early 2018:
“What we have to accept is that this [decriminalizing homosexuality] is something that will depend on consensus.
“We do not have the right or opportunity to force states, but we can start a really good conversation to work with them so they understand the economic issues in relations to human rights and make the change.
“The one thing I have to do is to build consensus and trust and I can hope it will [be on the next CHOGM agenda].”
- Protesters seek to end LGBTI repression in Commonwealth (November 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Activists to U.K.: Fight harder vs. global LGBT persecution (June 2015, 76crimes.com)
- Queen honors LGBTI leader seeking change in Barbados (January 2015, 76crimes.com)
- ‘Umbrellas of Love’ for Commonwealth’s LGBT outcasts (July 2014, 76crimes.com)
- India turns back the clock, restores anti-gay law (December 3013, 76crimes.com)