Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas has added her name to calls for the United Nations to outlaw anti-gay laws around the world.

Dr Lucas, who represents South-East England, has signed up to a letter demanding the UN Human Rights Council adopts a resolution requiring the worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The Green Party MEP said: “It is time the UN condemned such injustice and sent a signal to the governments of the world that the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is a violation of fundamental human rights.”

Existing human rights law – including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – asserts that all humans are born free and equal, and prohibits discrimination and arbitrary interference with privacy or family and home life.

But nowhere in international law is the criminalisation of homosexuality prohibited.

Currently, over 80 countries continue to outlaw same-sex relations in all circumstances. The maximum punishments range from a few years jail to life imprisonment. In nine countries, or regions of countries, the mandatory punishment for homosexuality is death by execution.

Dr Lucas added: “Persecuting minorities is a basic violation of human rights which creates conflict and encourages violence within communities. Governments the world over have a duty to stamp out homophobic discrimination by repealing all laws banning homosexuality and bringing those responsible for any persecution to justice themselves.

“The UN Human Rights Council must adopt a resolution along these lines, both to clarify existing international law and to prevent further state-sponsored persecution of LGBT communities.”

The campaign was launched by Louis-Georges Tin, president of the International Day Against Homophobia committee.

It has already enlisted the support of a wide range of organisations and influential individuals, including Outrage! and GALHA from the UK and several Euro-MPs, philosophers, human rights activists – including Desmond Tutu, artists and performers