A Peaceful Commonwealth for All Must Mean All, Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity/Expression
Sir Stephen Wall, GCMG, LVO Chair.
The Kaleidoscope Trust welcomes the Commonwealth’s 2017 theme, “a peace-building Commonwealth,” and the acknowledgement that the rich diversity of the Commonwealth is a unique strength for building the peaceful and secure societies that are essential for the progress and prosperity of all Commonwealth citizens.
Values such as human rights, tolerance, respect and understanding lie at the heart of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Charter 2013 highlights the strong link between these values and peace, stating that the “respect for the dignity of all human beings is critical to promoting peace and prosperity” and recognising the critical role of human rights “for all without discrimination on any grounds as the foundations of peaceful, just and stable societies”.
In her Commonwealth Day statement this year, Her Majesty the Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, stressed the importance of these values as “the cornerstones on which peace is founded” and affirmed that “working together, we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community”.
The Kaleidoscope Trust looks forward to constructively engaging with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the UK next year, in collaboration with our partners in The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) and the UK Alliance for Global Equality. In 2015, the Leaders of the Commonwealth emphasised “the need to protect individuals from all forms of violence and discrimination”. At the Commonwealth summit in London, we are keen to ensure that the Commonwealth’s strengths of its collaborative nature, diversity and shared aims contribute to the peace and prosperity of everyone. Unless words are translated into action that protects the basic safety and promotes the universal human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens of the Commonwealth, they will be a betrayal of the values of which the Queen has spoken.