Commonwealth Officially Accredits First LGBTI Organization, TCEN

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The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) recently welcomed the decision by the Commonwealth to approve the Network for accreditation as a Commonwealth organization. As a result of this landmark decision, TCEN is now the first and only LGBTI-focused organization to be officially accredited by the Commonwealth. Now TCEN activists will benefit from increased access to, participation in, and information about Commonwealth matters. The accreditation also sends a strong signal that the voices and needs of LGBTI people are legitimate and LGBTI activists have a vital role in civil society. See full article at The Commonwealth Equality Network (excerpts below):

Established in 2013, TCEN is a diverse network of 38 civil society organisations in 39 countries working to challenge inequality and end discrimination against LGBTI people in the Commonwealth. The majority of TCEN members originate in low- and middle-income countries in the Global South. The Government of Canada has welcomed the Network’s accreditation, noting that TCEN “has challenged discrimination and countered homophobia and transphobia around the world—and today it represents a diversity of civil society organizations within the 52 member nations of the Commonwealth. This step will ensure that LGBTQ2 rights are an ever more important priority for the Commonwealth.”

TCEN is greatly encouraged by accreditation.

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Chair of TCEN and Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND – SRI LANKA, said: “Considering the process it takes, it is a small wonder and a great victory for TCEN to have been given accreditation as a Commonwealth organisation. I am certain TCEN can make great inroads into gaining LGBTI rights in the Commonwealth. I look forward to the day when all countries within the Commonwealth adhere to the principles of human rights and equality enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter, safeguarding LGBTI rights and upholding freedom and equality for all.”

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) and the winner of the 2017 David Kato Vision and Voice Award, whose successful lawsuit ended in Belize’s anti-homosexuality being law struck down in 2016, said: “Finally, Commonwealth governments have acknowledged that their LGBTI citizens’ dignity and rights are a part of democratic principles that should be at the policy table. As a citizen of the Commonwealth, it gives me hope that states will not leave totally the defence of rights to be the burden, alone, of individuals.”

Paul Dillane, Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust, a London-based Network member and host of the TCEN Secretariat, said: “Let us be clear about the scale of the challenge: 36 countries in the Commonwealth continue to criminalise consensual same-sex acts and in many others LGBTI people experience discrimination and violence. TCEN provides an important platform for activists around the world to organise and collaborate in the struggle for equality and freedom. This decision provides TCEN with a vital opportunity to put the human rights of LGBTI people on the agenda.” [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.commonwealthequality.org/news/19/

[Photo above from http://kottke.org/15/06/moma-adds-the-lgbt-rainbow-flag-to-their-collection.]

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