Britain is accused of “caving in” to pressure from the governments of Commonwealth states which criminalise homosexuality after doubts arose over a planned UK endeavor to promote gay rights at the bloc’s upcoming summit in London.
On 16 April, the opening day of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (Chogm), a guide on international best practice on sexual orientation and gender identity had been due to be published by the Government Equalities Office.
The summit “presents an opportunity to engage with Commonwealth member states and continue the UK’s special responsibility to advance equality across the Commonwealth for people with minority sexual orientations and gender identities,” according to details of a tender seeking a supplier for the guide.
LGBT rights remain a sensitive issue in Commonwealth whilst 37 of its 53 nations still did not accept homosexuality.
The Labour MP Chris Bryant was concern about whether the initiative would go ahead.
“It as if the government is now soft pedalling on the issue of LGBT rights. It might be the case now that they would prefer to publish this at a later date when no one will really notice,” he said.
“This sends a very negative signal to the more than 100 million LGBT+ people who suffer criminalisation, discrimination and violence in 70% of Commonwealth countries,” the veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell said.
> Shiuly Akter