IF YOU LIVE AND WORK IN A COMMONWEALTH MEMBER STATE PLEASE READ
Dear friends and colleagues,
As you may be aware, there has recently been some real movements towards safeguarding the rights of LGBT in parts of the Commonwealth.
In India the Delhi High Court ruling passed the judgment to decriminalise homosexuality. Around the same time, the British Government through its Foreign and Commonwealth office is urging their diplomats to demonstrate their support of LGBT issues even in many Commonwealth states that maintain laws criminalising homosexuality.
We, as Civil Society representatives of the Commonwealth and friends/allies/members of the LGBT communities need to act immediately to keep up the momentum of such major developments and not miss key opportunities at which our voices could be heard and our rights upheld.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which takes place every two years, is due to be held this year in November in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. The Commonwealth Foundation which is an inter-governmental organisation is mandated by the 53 Commonwealth countries to strengthen the capacities of civil society/NGOs in these countries. They are responsible for the convening of the Commonwealth People's Forum (CPF) – which is held just prior to the CHOGM in Trinidad. From this Forum, a civil society Statement which calls on Commonwealth Governments to act upon key issues of importance to the broader civil society is then presented to the Heads of Government. This is an extremely important opportunity that WE MUST NOT MISS.
Attached is a civil society petition/request to the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation. It calls on the Foundation to provide meaningful space and a platform for civil society at the Commonwealth People's Forum to highlight the safeguarding of the rights of LGBT people to live with respect and equality in a Commonwealth that is free from criminalization, stigma and discrimination.
This petition needs to be signed by as many NGOs/Civil society organisations as possible in Asia, Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean plus our friend in Canada!.
Since we have little time in order to prepare for the meeting in November, we are kindly appealing to you to agree to sign this petition and send back to us before Wednesday 22 July.
If you agree to sign the petition please send us the name of your organization or Individual, country and address/email.
Looking forward to hearing back from you soon,
Chairperson, EQUAL GROUND, SRI LANKA
Male Representative ASIA, ILGA WORLD BOARD
Regional Director ASIA, INTERPRIDE