In a recent House of Lords speech, Lord Black of Brentwood slammed the way many Commonwealth countries treat LGBT people. It was during a debate to mark the 100th anniversary of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association that the Conservative Peer illustrated how appalling the situation is across the world.
Lord Black, himself openly-gay, pointed out that, despite the recent statement by the Secretary General and the High Court ruling in India decriminalising homosexuality, these positives are “dwarfed by the oppressive regimes in many other countries”.
Black highlighted that homosexual acts are still punishable by life imprisonment in seven Commonwealth states and that in a further six, they are punishable by hard labour and flogging. He also pointed out that thirty-eight out of 54 member states still criminalise homosexuality, and that half of all the countries in the world that criminalise homosexuality are to be found in the Commonwealth. He said that “this state of affairs is wholly unacceptable.”
Black told the House:
“There are many terrible examples of the human consequences of this. In Jamaica, sexual assaults on gay women are known by the odious term “corrective rape” and happen far too often. In Uganda, David Kato, a well known gay activist, was brutally murdered, unleashing a campaign of homophobic paranoia in that country.”
Matthew Sephton, who chairs the Conservative Party’s LGBT group, LGBTory, commented:
“It is disgraceful that in so many parts of the Commonwealth, of which our monarch is Head, there are still such draconian laws and punishments simply for being gay. I am pleased that a Conservative Peer has raised the matter so forcefully in Parliament and we will be working with Lord Black and the UK Government in order to push for much-needed change to actually happen.”