The All Party Parliamentary Group for Global LGBT Rights (or ‘APPG LGBT’) has urged the UK Government to develop a comprehensive cross-departmental strategy for advancing LGBT rights across the world. A report has been issued following the group’s first inquiry, which looked at the human rights situation for LGBT communities worldwide. It reflected on how the government has responded so far, and how business, civil society organisations, and Parliament can help support the global movement.
The report also calls for a clearly accountable figure to be appointed in government, with responsibility for implementing the cross-government strategy – whether that is a new role (like the United States' Special Envoy for LGBT Rights) or a Minister with responsibility for LGBT rights.
The APPG LGBT now has 100 members from across parliament, making it one of the largest All Party Parliamentary Groups.
One of the more shocking facts highlighted in the report is the fact that 2.9 billion people (40 per cent of the world's population) live under laws that criminalise same-sex relationships. It also sheds a light on – and condemns - the high levels of violence against LGBT communities, especially trans communities in the global south. It underlines the impact of underfunding of the international LGBT movement, noting that for every $100 spent by US foundations, just 5 cents goes to the international LGBT movement.
Stonewall submitted evidence to the inquiry in autumn 2015, and we’re pleased to see several of our recommendations taken up in the report. This includes our call for a cross-government strategy on global LGBT rights, for greater UK Government support for LGBT rights organisations in the global south and east, and for more action from the Department for International Development (DFID) to ensure LGBT organisations are included in aid spending.
The UK is one of just a handful of governments that LGBT human rights defenders worldwide can expect routine, material and visible support. We believe the UK Government has a clear role to play in ensuring the human rights of LGBT communities are taken seriously by states, and at the highest levels internationally.
We hope the publication of this report proves to be a real tipping point in efforts to secure a new level of leadership from the UK Government on LGBT rights issues worldwide.