Kaleidoscope Trust welcomes All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT Rights Report: The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights
The Trust’s welcomes key recommendations that the APPG has made to ensure that the UK use help prevent the ongoing, serious and often profoundly concerning violations of their civil, political and economic rights faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.
We applaud the APPG’s acknowledgement that British leadership to overturn this is crucial given the majority of jurisdictions that criminalise same-sex activity do so on the basis of legislation inherited from Britain during their colonial histories, citing both the Trust’s Speaking Out 2015 Report and The Commonwealth Equality Network’s (TCEN) website.
The Trust welcomes the report’s emphasis on the Commonwealth as a forum in which to advance the rights of LGBT people forums wherein which discussion around decriminalisation may remain controversial, a focus on opposing violence can build support. We are pleased of the recognition of the collaboration between the Trust, TCEN and the FCO in the outcomes of the 2015 Commonwealth Leader’s Communique to “protect individuals from all forms of violence.”
The Trust strongly welcomes the inquiry’s call for a broader approach to LGBT health issues, including the health impacts of violence, with a particular focus mental health and the health of LBT women which cites our Executive Director Dr Felicity Daly’s research.
The Trust is pleased that the inquiry echoes our calls for enhanced cross departmental strategy and coordination and strategy and we remain willing to contribute to this including by taking part in a stakeholder steering group to help assist its development and implementation.
On the role of the FCO we agree that the UK has demonstrated High level leadership needed champion LGBT people globally and urge for enhanced practical support for local LGBT organisations, both financial and political, should be encouraged and the exchange of good practice systematised.
We support the call for the FCO to develop a targeted county strategy that sets out clear and realisable objectives, in key countries responsive to change, and the interventions that are effective and contextually appropriate. We strongly support the inquiry’s call for mechanisms that spread good practise between geographical locations to allow British diplomats to share and learn good practise between missions and we echoes the call for the FCO LGBT Toolkit to be revised.
We welcome the inquiry’s focus on the need for links between defending human rights and advancing prosperity especially as a country’s full economic potential cannot be reached without LGBT inclusion.
We support the emphasis on the private diplomacy over public condemnation and we agree that this should not prevent stronger, public diplomatic censure when necessary.
While our Executive Director is credited with making a statement that seems to strongly endorse the use of targeted visa bans that limit the ability of politicians and public figures at the forefront of introducing discriminatory legislation to travel we clarify that consideration of such strict measures should always include consultation with LGBT movements in the country in question.
We also support the report’s welcome of DFID’s approach to LGBT rights and its links to the Sustainable Development Goals. The report highlights our concerns that it is not yet clear how implementation will proceed due to a perceived lack of internal resources and limited identification of additional funding streams for LGBT specific programming.
The Trust was cited in pointing out that “Overwhelmingly, the greatest need identified by our partners is the challenge they face in resourcing their work” It also presents the Trust’s evidence that the inadequacy of funding to support LGBT specific programming and advocacy is thrown into high relief by the amount of funding available to those opposed to the realisation of rights by LGBT people
The report notes that tracking funding with an LGBT component is necessary to measure successful implementation of DFID’s LGBT agenda and we are pleased that the Trust’s work in tracking Overseas Development Assistance benefitting LGBT people will soon be published in the 2016 Global Resource Tracking Report.
We note that the report grapples with the application of aid conditionality noting that it may inadvertently entrench the perspective that support for LGBT rights is being driven by international actors and undermine collaboration between LGBT organisations and the rest of civil society.
The report acknowledged the important role of the Private Sector in exercising influence and nots that business interventions should be contextually relevant and engage with civil society in the country of operation. The Trust reiterates the approach of Open for Business and applauds its member companies’ actions to ensure a safe working environment for LGBT employees across the world.
The report cites the Trust’s recommendation that wherever possible it is important for parliamentarians to meet and work with grassroots LGBT activists in order to construct effective, contextually responsive interventions informed by their expertise, their concerns as well as the opportunities they have identified. We support the potential areas for further examination that have been identified in this report include and the Trust would particularly like to play a role in exploring how to better support data collection and research on the inclusion of LGBTI people and the role of faith communities in confronting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
We welcome the commitment of the APPG to work with civil society organisations both in the UK and internationally and utilise its convening power to highlight issues and agree effective responses and the Trust will continue to collaborate closely with the APPG.