Ethical Performance
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Queen ratifies historic human rights Commonwealth charter

April 2013

History was made recently when the Queen signed the first charter backing equal rights for women and gay people in every Commonwealth nation.

The Charter unequivocally embraces the ideal of universal human rights for all Commonwealth citizens.  

However pressure groups were quick to point out that more than 40 of the member states criminalise lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.  

All Out, the world’s largest movement for LGBT equality, launched a global petition calling on the leaders of all Commonwealth countries to respect the new charter and work to immediately remove laws that make it a crime to be gay.

“The new Commonwealth Charter is a positive step forward. Now it is time to truly shake off the colonial hangover and remove anti-gay laws from the books that violate the Charter and leave many Commonwealth nations stuck in the past,” said Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-founder of All Out, “We are calling on the leaders of the Commonwealth to push for full decriminalisation of homosexuality in every country bound by the Charter.”

Section 377, as it is known in many Commonwealth countries, is a law outlawing homosexuality and remains from the time when the Commonwealth countries were British colonies. As each country gained independence, these laws remained.

Banks added: “The United Kingdom can take the lead and use public and diplomatic pressure to ensure that the initial wrong done by these laws is not visited upon the children of this generation.”

All Out | Global | Human rights

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