David Cameron urged to use the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to speak out against member states’ treatment of gay people

Gay rights activists led a protest outside 10 Downing Street this evening calling for a public statement

Social Affairs Correspondent

David Cameron was under increasing pressure today to speak out against homophobia ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth, 42 criminalise homosexuality and campaigners are demanding that the British Government uses the Games to tackle the issue.

African gay rights activists and the campaigner Peter Tatchell led a protest outside 10 Downing Street this evening calling for the Prime Minister to make a public statement against member states’ treatment of gay people.

Edwin Sesange, coordinator of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group which organised the protest, said: “The UK government prides itself on the progress it has made for gay rights. David Cameron vowed to help defend LGBTI rights around the world. His promises have not, however, been backed with sufficient action. This is his chance to make amends.

“Far from moving towards equality, we have seen many Commonwealth countries witch-hunt their LGBTI citizens and even tougher anti-gay laws have been recently legislated in countries like Uganda, Brunei and Nigeria."

Mr Sesange said that since Britain imposed most of the existing anti-gay laws in Commonwealth countries during the colonial era, it should be “part of the solution” by challenging prejudice.

Mr Tatchell said: “We are appealing to Prime Minister David Cameron to speak out against homophobia and transphobia in the Commonwealth in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, which start in Glasgow on 23 July.

"We also want him to express his public support for Article 7 of the Commonwealth Games Federation constitution, which prohibits any form of discrimination - including discrimination in athlete selection for the national teams.”

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (Getty) Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (Getty)
He added: “Given the extreme homophobia and transphobia in most Commonwealth countries, it is very unlikely that most national selection committees would allow a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or inter-sex (LGBTI) athlete to compete at Glasgow.

"David Cameron can help by making clear that such discrimination is incompatible with Commonwealth Games values and rules.”

John Bosco Nyombi is a gay Ugandan man who sued the British Government after he was deported from Britain only to be persecuted by Ugandan police. He now has asylum in the UK and says David Cameron must seize the opportunity to take a stand.

“I’m in the UK and I’m safe now but other people in Uganda, or Zimbabwe or Nigeria are not. They are still suffering and the Prime Minister knows this. It shouldn’t be just the UK that has gay rights it should be all Commonwealth countries; they’re all under the queen.”

Sam Dick, director of campaigns at Stonewall, said: “Whilst the Commonwealth Games are a cause for celebration, we must not forget that for many gay people in the Commonwealth watching or listening to the Games will be the closest they come to equality. It’s vital that the Commonwealth does more to support lesbian, gay and bisexual people no matter where they may live.”

The gay sport inclusion charity, Leap Sports Scotland, will be running a pop-up cafe and LGBT support space at the Games called Pride House. Funded by the Scottish government it is the first time a state has paid to have a Pride space at a sporting event.

Hugh Torrance, chairman of the charity, said: “The Games provide an ideal platform for us to be engaging with these issues and David Cameron as head of this state is in a position to do that. If he made a statement about homophobia that would definitely highlight the issue.”

 

Uganda: In February, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, blaming Western culture and saying he was “sick of homosexuals exhibiting themselves”.

Mauritania: Women can face prison for engaging in homosexual sex in Mauritania and Muslim men could be stoned to death by law.

Nigeria: Previously, having gay sex was illegal in Nigeria, but as of last March [2014], same-sex relationships are also illegal, and they could face up to 14 years in prison.

Sudan: Homosexual acts are punishable by death in Sudan, widely considered one of the most oppressive places for LGBTs.

Somalia: Laws suggest that gay citizens could face prison for homosexual relationships and sex, but some Islamic areas have imposed harsher punishments, such as the death penalty.

Yemen: men can be sentenced to death by stoning for homosexual intercourse, or they could face a year in prison, or whipping.

Qatar: Sharia law applies to Muslims, who can be put to death for extramarital sex, both homosexual and heterosexual.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea