Now Reading
Commonwealth countries officially recognize LGBTI group

Commonwealth countries officially recognize LGBTI group

Commonwealth Secretary General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC with Prince Charles.

A coalition of LGBTI organizations has become the first LGBTI group to be officially been recognized by the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) was approved for accreditation as a Commonwealth organisation earlier this month.

The TCEN is a network of 38 civil society organizations in 39 countries. They all work to challenge inequality and end discrimination against LGBTI people.

The Commonwealth is made up of 52 countries that were – and some still are – a part of the British colonial empire. It is home to 2.4 billion people in both advanced economies and developing countries.

Accreditation means TCEN activists will benefit from increased access to, participation in and information about Commonwealth matters.

Same-sex relations are still criminalised in 36 of the 52 Commonwealth countries. 90% of its citizens are living in countries where same-sex relations are illegal.

A huge win

Chair of TCEN Chair and executive director of Sri Lanka’s EQUAL GROUND Rosanna Flamer-Caldera said it was an amazing achievement.

‘Considering the process it takes, it is a small wonder and a great victory for TCEN to have been given accreditation as a Commonwealth organisation. I am certain TCEN can make great inroads into gaining LGBTI rights in the Commonwealth.

‘I look forward to the day when all countries within the Commonwealth adhere to the principles of human rights and equality enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter, safeguarding LGBTI rights and upholding freedom and equality for all.’

TCEN said its inclusion sends a also sends a strong signal that the needs of LGBTI people are legitimate.

‘TCEN provides an important platform for activists around the world to organise and collaborate in the struggle for equality and freedom. This decision provides TCEN with a vital opportunity to put the human rights of LGBTI people on the agenda,’ said Paul Dillane, Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust.