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At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), the UK announced further funding to support grassroots human rights defenders and advance equality and freedom across the Commonwealth. 

Despite some progress in recent years, many LGBT+ people in Commonwealth countries continue to face discrimination and criminalisation with homosexuality illegal in 35 of the Commonwealth’s 54 countries, prompting human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to refer to it as “a homophobic institution”.

Violence and discrimination

The £2.7 million package announced by the Prime Minister will continue work with partners, including The Commonwealth Equality Network and Kaleidoscope Trust, to encourage the reform of outdated laws and policies that fail to protect all individuals from violence and discrimination. 

The Prime Minister also confirmed funding for the Pride programme at next month’s Commonwealth Games in the UK, with the project being backed by over £40,000 from Government and £50,000 from the Commonwealth Sport Foundation. Delivered by Pride House Birmingham, the programme will include a Pride House presence at the three main athlete village sites for the first time ever at a Commonwealth Games. 

Commonwealth Games

Since taking over as Chair-In-Office 2018, the UK has invested over £11 million in the promotion and protection of LGBT+ rights across the Commonwealth. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The Commonwealth is a voluntary grouping of independent and equal nations, but as a collective it has long been a powerful force for good. The values that our members hold dear, from human rights to equality, should apply to everyone in society. 

“I am immensely proud of the UK’s record on LGBT rights – the freedom to love who you want is a core British value and a vital component of any democracy. I hope world will see these values in action at next month’s Commonwealth Games.” 

Human rights defenders

The majority of the new funding (£2.5m) will go to civil society organisations and human rights defenders working to amend and repeal discriminatory laws and policies, and to safeguard progress in equalities. 

A further funding allocation will support a secure data storage system for LGBT+ refugees from Afghanistan and fund the UK’s continued work alongside the global Equal Rights Coalition as co-chairs. 

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