LGBT activists of Commonwealth demand their voice to be heard

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Delegations from 53 countries across the world will head to London for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to discuss a number of issues, in part LGBT rights. 36 of the 53 countries in the Commonwealth still did not repeal the Colonial era laws according to which homosexuality is considered a crime. Belize, Seychelles and Mozambique have decriminalized gay relations in recent years, but in countries like Nigeria and Uganda the situation gets worse and worse. Pakistani activist Qasim Iqbal of the Naz Male Health Alliance said: “We have this wonderful opportunity, because CHOGM is going to take place here in the United Kingdom, and because the British government is being so supportive, we need to make the best out of it.” UK-based activist Peter Tatchell is urging the British government to apologize for its legacy on the issue. Caleb Orozco of Belize, an activist who successfully challenged his country’s anti-gay law, added that ultimately the issue was about general and basic rights every human deserves to have. There will be four separate community forums at CHOGM – a business forum, a people’s forum, a youth forum and a women’s forum – and LGBT activists are hoping to engage at every level.

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