Key priorities and asks
Provide sustainable funding: Funding and investment for LGBTI+ organisations, programming, and services.
a. Effective, long-term, and consistent financial investment for civil society organisations and service providers who support LGBTI+ communities across the Commonwealth.
b. Co-production with Civil Society organisations and advocates on grant programme design to ensure that investment best meets the needs of LGBTI+ CSOs, communities, and service providers.
c. A holistic approach to investment that recognises the intersectional issues faced by multiple disadvantaged groups and communities.
d. Commitment to allocating a percentage of grant funding for unrestricted core funds to organisations to strengthen organisational capacity and resource to manage and deliver grants programmes, and to ensure stability, consistency, and sustainability of organisations; and/or consider commitment to less restrictive and more outcomes focussed terms.
e. Continuity grants aimed at supporting regular and repeated programming for interventions that demonstrate good quality and effective outcomes for LGBTI+ communities
f. Commonwealth Secretariat, member states, and partners to create a Commonwealth crisis fund for the mobilisation of emergency grant support for LGBTI+ and other civil society organisations facing hardship because of climate impact, political instability, conflict, and health emergencies.
Legislation: Review, engage and create an enabling environment for policy and legislation that promotes non-discrimination, protection, inclusion, and equality of opportunity for LGBTI+ people, across every aspect of life.
Inclusive Policies: Development and implementation of models of co-production, early intervention, and prevention mechanisms to be used for those most at risk of harm, such as LGBTI+ people, in order to reduce the greatest impacts of inequality, discrimination and exclusion.
Prioritise gender equality: provide accessible information about LGBTI+ rights on all relevant government websites and documents, collect and share gender disaggregated data and statistics to improve accountability for gender equality and track progress, and ensure LBTQ women and girls, and the inequalities they face are represented in initiatives, specialised, and tailored support for LBTQ women.
Consultation: Commitment that LGBTI+ people and organisations are consistently consulted on and included in national and Commonwealth-wide initiatives, action plans, and policy development and humanitarian response with recovery thereof.
Sustainability: Strengthening progress of inclusion within the current development programming and services that recognise the inequalities of livelihood, social wellbeing, and economic development of LGBTI+ persons within states.
The five sub-themes for CHOGM 2022 are:
- Governance and the Rule of Law
- Technology and Innovation
The remainder of this paper reviews these sub-themes in more detail while adding additional links/supporting documents that have been previously developed by KT/TCEN.
- LGBTI+ People in the Commonwealth (an update)
- Of TCEN member organisations surveyed, international and government institutions were the primary funders for over 80% of the organisations.
- 47.7% of organisations surveyed received less than £50,000 in annual funding.
- In addition to a general funding squeeze faced by many civil society organisations, in many cases where funding has been available, it often has only been available through short-term grants. This makes it difficult to develop sustainable and feasible advocacy, service, or policy interventions given that the resourcing required rarely falls within the grant durations.
Governance and the rule of law
- Update legislation to meet international human rights obligations including repeal of laws criminalising same-sex intimacy, introduction of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, reproductive rights protections, and legislation to tackle harmful practices such as FGM/C, and conversion therapy.
- Ensure customary laws and religion exemptions do not contradict national laws as they relate to the rights of LGBTI+ people, women and girls, disabled people and other marginalised communities.
- Commit to the free and full participation of women, LGBTI+ people, people with disabilities, indigenous and other marginalised groups in political processes.
- Ensure that LGBTI+ organisations/groups are not prevented from associating.
- Ensure action is taken to investigate, without prejudice, threats or acts of violence, intimidation, discrimination, unlawful surveillance, or destruction of property perpetrated against CSOs, staff and LGBTI+ human rights defenders.
- Encourage CSO and NHRI engagement in sensitisation of law enforcement and the judiciary on LGBTI+ rights.
- Strengthen the role of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to ensure monitoring and review of states human rights commitments in accordance with the values enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter.
- Ensure that legislation developed to regulate online spaces and media environments does not infringe on the rights of expression and privacy of LGBTI+ people, or is used to unlawfully target, surveil or detain LGBTI+ individuals or groups.
- LGBTI+ people – as with any person – hold many identities, and often face intersecting social and legal factors that marginalise them. For instance, young LGBTI+ persons often experience particular disadvantages due to their economic dependence and reliance on community networks and family who may not be supportive of their sexual or gender identity.
- Lack of trust in police and judicial institutions by LGBTI+ communities, based on negative experiences, makes victims turn away from reporting instances of violence to law enforcement officials.
- If LGBTI+ cases are not prosecuted with the necessary and timely diligence this fails to deter perpetrators from committing the crime again.
- This creates a widespread sentiment of impunity where perpetrators are given the impression or seen as ‘heroes’ or ‘protectors’ of societal moral values.
- Domestic Violence paper: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xfppc0obrqi7cd2/AAAIGCI1FyNLb9h5N8AE3SxBa/P8848%20Research%20Papers%20-%20Domestic%20Violence.pdf?dl=0
- Intersectionality Paper: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xfppc0obrqi7cd2/AADve_iq5bp0mcufYrpcfIBna/P8848%20Research%20Papers%20-%20Intersectionality%20Paper.pdf?dl=0
- Ethical trade supply chains?
- Recognise that a key pillar of the SDGs is the promise to “leave no one behind”, recognizing that to eradicate poverty and create a sustainably developed world, the 169 targets need to be met for all segments of society, including marginalized groups and vulnerable populations.
- Recognition of the positive impact that social inclusion and public acceptance of LGBTI+ people has on a country’s economic performance, and that LGBTI+ people often face higher rates of poverty, food insecurity and joblessness.
- Commit to improving rights protections and removing barriers of participation and inclusion of LGBTI+ people in society, in education, and in the workplace.
- Equal, equitable and inclusive access to all levels of education.
- Ensure that the impact of economic, climate and socio-political changes on the lives of LGBTI+, particularly in small states or states most susceptible to these factors, is captured in measurement indicators in development in the Commonwealth Vulnerability Index.
- Integrate the priorities of LGBTI+ communities and civil society organisations into the development and implementation of national climate policies and plans.
- Many Commonwealth countries have one or few civil society organisations that provide services and support to the LGBTI+ populations. In the event of a climate event or emergence States, humanitarian NGOs and intergovernmental institutions must account for and include LGBTI+ people in relief and recovery efforts.
- Economic Exclusion paper: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xfppc0obrqi7cd2/AAD_MQXGS4j_YO2WUG-9H-98a/P8848%20Research%20Papers%20-%20IPF%20Economic%20Exclusion.pdf?dl=0
- Invest in research into the impact of COVID-19 on the health outcomes of LGBTI+ people in the Commonwealth to inform improvements to inclusive, accessible and resilient health systems.
- Commit to removing barriers for LGBTI+ to accessing health services, such as stigma and discrimination, and invest in sensitising health care professionals and policy-makers to the health needs of LGBTI+ people.
- Commit to de-stigmatising HIV and AIDS, and work holistically with health care providers, civil society and other key partners to improve the quality treatment and the availability and accessibility to free or affordable HIV and AIDS medication.
- Ensure equitable access to good quality sexual health and reproductive services for LGBTI+ people, and sensitise health professionals and decision makers to the complex and systemic barriers for LGBTI+ people to access care, for example, for trans and non-binary people accessing cervical screenings.
- Mental Health Paper: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xfppc0obrqi7cd2/AADSoIupGaXMIcclZLeR84jaa/P8848%20Research%20Papers%20-%20Mental%20Health%20IPF%20Paper.pdf?dl=0
- Access to Medicines Paper: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xfppc0obrqi7cd2/AAA62J5O0Jb6v7F6gtlLDbwma/P8848%20Research%20Papers%20-%20Access%20to%20Medicines.pdf?dl=0
LGBTI+ youth can face violence discrimination and bullying which can lead to an increased likelihood of avoiding school, as well as developing self-esteem and mental health issues. They also may face limited employment opportunities, and increased risk of homelessness and/or entering sex work as a means to survive. LGBTI+ youth and may not have access to appropriate sex education and sexual health services. There are also vulnerable to harmful practices such as conversion therapy, and ‘corrective rape’.
- Improve investment for and empower Commonwealth Youth Networks to promote and address the issues that affect LGBTI+ youth.
- Ensure the issues raised in relation to LGBTI+ within the 2020 Global Youth Development Report, which has been adopted by Commonwealth Heads of State, inform Commonwealth wide policy response.
- Commit to upholding Sexual Health and Reproductive Health Rights and improve access to SRH services for young people, supported by inclusive education.
- Work with schools, students, parents, local governments and organisations to address violence and bullying against young people who are or are perceived to be LGBTI+.
- Work with employers, trade unions, and policy and decision-makers to remove barriers to employment for LGBTI+ young people, and to create inclusive workplace policies and environments that protect employees against discrimination and harassment.
- Ensure vulnerable LGBTI+ youth are included in the creation of homelessness services and reduction initiatives, and provide emergency safe houses for LGBTI+ youth and in support for them to access longer-term housing, employment, and education.
- Encourage worth with families, communities, and faith leaders to enable social change and acceptance of LGBTI+ youth, and shift toward prevention and early action on issues such as homelessness.
- Promotion of and commitment to a human rights-based education and curriculum.
- To encourage equal access to and inclusive participation for LGBTI+ people in sport, recognising its contribution it makes to the empowerment of young people, healthy living, economic development and to improving the quality of education and to reducing inequality.
Technology and Innovation
- Respect the right to freedom of expression and freedom to information by refraining from intentionally disrupting, censoring, or denying users access to information.
- Entrench human rights in the digital space as set out in the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration 2018 by standardising regulations governing data usage, technology, and digitalization.
- Ensure digital services and infrastructure are secure, accessible, and affordable for all communities, with emphasis on low-income, remote, and low-density areas.
- Promote safe, accessible and inclusive digital participation, and provide education and training to combat online violence and online child exploitation, sexual and gender-based harassment, cyber bullying, and hate speech against a person or group based on discrimination of any kind.
- Investment in improving access to technology and internet connectivity and embedding digital skills into curricula and other non-formal education.