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Kaleidoscope Trust is calling on the UK Government to fight back against rising discrimination and violence against LGBTI+ people around the world. On Monday 2 October, at an event in Manchester during the Conservative party conference, we published a policy manifesto to help inform the global LGBTI+ rights policy priorities of both political parties ahead of the next general election.

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, said:

“Ever since 2011, when then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron raised the issue of criminalisation of LGBTI+ people at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia, the UK has been working to uphold the human rights of LGBTI+ people through its foreign policy. We’ve already seen that approach really bear fruit, with 12 Commonwealth countries decriminalising since that summit and then-British Prime Minister Theresa May expressing deep regret that such laws were introduced and that the legacy of violence and discrimination that still persists. 

“But the current climate means we really need the UK Government to step up and make a firm and repeated commitment to protecting and promoting LGBTI+ rights. Just this year we have seen a draconian new Anti-Homosexuality Law passed in Uganda, broadly criminalising LGBTI+ people and anyone who associates with them. We’ve seen similar legislation proposed in other countries like Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania and an exponential rise worldwide in hate speech, misinformation and violence against LGBTI+ people.

“Many of the countries that currently criminalise LGBTI+ people first enacted those laws under colonial rule. Our government has expressed deep regret for the impact of these policies, and it must continue to work for a world where all LGBTI+ people can lead free, safe and equal lives. 

“We have outlined five clear strategic policy pillars for the UK Government and we are attending Conservative and Labour Party conferences to ask both main parties to commit to implementing these policy recommendations.”

Priorities identified in Kaleidoscope Trust’s Policy Manifesto include addressing violence and discrimination, taking multilateral leadership on LGBTI+ human rights and providing sustainable and stable funding for work to uphold the human rights of LGBTI+ people through the foreign aid budget. 

The Policy Manifesto has already garnered support from MPs from both major political parties. 

Elliot Colburn MP, Conservative MP for Carshalton and Wallington and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT+ Rights, said:

“As co-chair of the APPG on Global LGBT+ Rights I’ve seen MPs from different parties come together to work for a world where LGBTI+ people can live free, safe and equal lives. We’ve heard directly from LGBT+ people who are currently living in countries where they face discrimination and persecution and I know they are looking to the UK Government to stand with them. This Manifesto should form a roadmap for our Government to protect and promote LGBTI+ rights.” 

Labour MP for Wallasey and co-chair of the APPG on Global LGBT+ Rights, Dame Angela Eagle said:

“Since I entered Parliament in 1992 we’ve seen huge progress on LGBTI+ rights both here in the UK and around the world, in no small part due to the tenacity and bravery of LGBT+ activists who have campaigned tirelessly for change. But I know that in many places LGBTI+ people are still living in darkness and fear and in some countries we can see an increase in hatred and violence.

“We can’t stand by and allow that progress to stall. We must continue to stand by those who are brave enough to campaign for LGBTI+ rights around the world, even in the face of persecution. This manifesto has clear strategic priorities for the UK Government to lead on LGBTI+ rights and I will be strongly recommending that they are implemented by a future Labour Government.”

Although laws against same-sex relationships in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Singapore and St Vincent and the Grenadines were overturned in the last year, 66 countries still criminalise consensual sexual relationships between people of the same gender, with eleven of these having the death penalty as a potential punishment. Human rights defenders are increasingly alarmed at a global rise in anti-LGBTI+ violence and the enactment of new laws penalising LGBTI+ people.

Read the Policy Manifesto