By Melanie Nathan, January 16, 2015.
Out & Proud Diamond Group, an international LGBTI organization is urging political parties in the United Kingdom to include in their upcoming General Election Manifesto, a commitment to work toward LGBTI equality and human rights worldwide, especially in Africa.
The following has been included in a written appeal appeal to Britain’s political leaders:
“We believe that the time has now arrived when it is not only appropriate, but also very necessary, for all UK political parties to include in their General Election Manifesto a clear pledge for the UK to undertake and support initiatives to challenge homophobia biphobia and transphobia in Africa and in all other countries where the LGBTI population suffer criminalisation, discrimination and violence.”
OPDG goes on to note:
“In particular, we seek your party’s commitment to press for international action against anti-LGBTI persecution via the UN, EU and Commonwealth – including lobbying for the inclusion of LGBTI equality on the agenda of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
This would enhance the image of your party as not only having a commitment to LGBTI human rights in the UK, but also worldwide.
We are also open to hear any additional proposals and commitments you may have to advance LGBTI rights overseas.
The UK has always shown a great lead and positive example in the development of Human rights for LGBTI people and other minorities.
United Kingdom is widely known as one of the best countries in the world for the LGBTI population. It is also believed that the UK government can have great influence in enhancing a better world for each and every person regardless of their colour, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, ethnicity or other status.”
In its quest to reach these political parties, the group points out the fact that there are over 70 countries in the world that criminalize, persecute, prosecute, discriminate, torture and provide the milieu for the mob lynching LGBTI people., noting the duty of the United Kingdom through the significance of the fact that many of these countries were influenced by or still harbor old penal codes, remnants of the colonial era.
“There is a wider mountain of evidence showing the detrimental consequences of homophobia and transphobia. Many people have lost their lives due to these prejudices, including the late David Kato in Uganda, Dwayne Jones in Jamaica and Eric Lembembe in Cameroon – among others. “
They pointed out the fact that many people have had to seek safe shelter, fleeing into exile and are still suffering from the horrendous trauma sustained through to anti-gay attacks and persecution, perpetrated by government, police, family, neighbors, landlords, employers, village leaders and community alike.
African HRC notes:
“Some LGBTI Africans are currently in prisons, sentenced to lengthy terms, others have been awaiting trials, in some instances for many years, some are on borders trying to reach foreign countries, others are refugees awaiting refugee registration in dilatory systems that do not provide the mechanisms required for UNHCR mandates, others are waiting for many months for UNHCR mandates toward resettlement – and all of this hardship is due to the persecution based on sexuality or gender identity. “
OPDG points out that anti-gay laws are in flagrant violation of local constitutions and international human rights laws to which many of these African countries are signatories. And so OPDG has made this crucial bid, urging UK’s political parties to stand up for what is right, in their current political platforms. Hopefully our readers will spread this message to encourage these parties as they seek votes from LGBTI community members.