Commonwealth Games 2014: Speak out against homophobia, Mr Salmond

The sad reality is that homophobic states are more likely to jail LGBTI athletes than allow them to participate in Glasgow

Share

Dear Alex Salmond,

We are immensely proud, honoured and grateful to your government for its commitment to equal human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people - most recently its support for same-sex marriage.

Now we ask you to continue and extend your support. 

I appeal to you to speak out - during the Commonwealth Games - in defence of the human rights of LGBTI people who suffer grave persecution in 42 out of 53 Commonwealth member states - and, given this persecution, to offer a specific, warm Scottish welcome to LGBTI athletes arriving in Glasgow. 

Article 7 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth Games Federation states: “There shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever, including race, colour, gender, religion or politics.”

Despite this ban on any and all discrimination, which is also enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter, 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries discriminate against LGBTI people.

These nations have laws that criminalise homosexuality, even between consenting adults in private. Seven of these nations stipulate a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. In parts of two Commonwealth countries - Nigeria and Pakistan -  LGBTI people can face execution under Sharia law.

READ MORE:
HOMOPHOBIA IS STILL BURNING BRIGHT
WHY LIVERPOOL FC'S BANNED LIST IS A STEP FORWARD
MORE TOP SPORTSMEN MUST COME OUT

Prejudice, discrimination, hate crime and legal victimisation against LBGTI people is widespread and draconian in 4 out of 5 Commonwealth countries. This homophobic hatred is so great that it is likely to prevent LGBTI athletes securing access to top class sports facilities and training camps. It is also likely to inhibit their equal, open and fair selection for the Commonwealth Games. This needs to be challenged.

The sad reality is that homophobic Commonwealth states such as Cameroon, Uganda, Brunei and Nigeria are more likely to jail LGBTI athletes than allow them to participate at the Glasgow games. 

Already, we've heard that a world class Indian 100 metre sprinter, Dutee Chand, has been barred by her country's Commonwealth Games selectors because she is intersex.

While all participating countries agree to accept the Commonwealth Games constitution, which includes Article 7, this is a mere formality. They have never been specifically asked to agree to non-discrimination. Most play lip-service to this fundamental principle: that discrimination has no place in sport. 

Although the Glasgow 2014 organisers cannot be held responsible for the anti-gay laws in of 4 out of 5 Commonwealth member states, it does have a responsibility to ensure that there is no discrimination by participating nations in the selection of their national teams.

It is not unreasonable to say that countries that refuse to support Article 7 - or that perpetuate discrimination in access to sports facilities, training camps or team selection - should be barred from participating in the Commonwealth Games.

If they are not prepared to abide by the rules of Article 7 they have no right to come to Glasgow or future Commonwealth Games.

A commitment to non-discrimination needs to come from the top and be publicly visible at both national and international levels. That is why I am appealing to Mr Salmond as First Minister of the host nation. Your support can set an equality bench mark, to the credit of yourself and Scotland. 

A public statement by you would not only reinforce Scotland’s commitment to uphold universal human rights and Commonwealth values; it would also represent a specific and notable step forward in the defence of the human rights of LGBTI athletes and citizens across the Commonwealth. 

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell
Director
Peter Tatchell Foundation

NOW READ THIS:
The intensity of the adulation for Blair ought to concern Labour’s ‘new’ man
Text-driving has become as unacceptable as drink-driving
Don't censor the victims of Gaza and MH17

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing / Sales Co-ordinator - OTE £25,000+

£10000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of staffing and r...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen Porter

£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the four inns of Court is seeking...

Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the four inns of Court i...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support - Surrey - £24,000

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpdesk / 1st L...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A memorial to the1982 war between Great Britain and Argentina in Buenos Aires  

Argentina poses no military threat to the Malvinas Islands. So why is the UK ratcheting up tension?

Alicia Castro
 

Daily catch-up: religion, politics and roads named after dictators

John Rentoul
War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?