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Shadow Foreign Minister: From Uganda to Brunei, LGBT lives remain under threat

  • Psychologist

    These are once again very encouraging sentiments, expressed today on IDAHOT. However, given that Kerry McCarthy is Labour’s Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Human Rights – there are still a great deal of commonwealth nations where homosexuality is a criminal offence.

    It is a sad indictment of the British Empire that over half of the 76 countries that still criminalise homosexuality are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. There are 41 members of the Commonwealth that still criminalise homosexuality, that amounts to approximately 80% of all Commonwealth states.

    As Kerry McCarthy is the shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Human Rights, maybe that would be a good place to start putting some ACTION to the sentiments she has expressed here today on IDAHOT ? Is our queen not HEAD of the commonwealth, then why is she not being more proactive in working for LGBT equal rights in HER commonwealth nations ? Perhaps approaching the queen to address this, might be a good place to start ?

    • Johnny

      Two chances of that happening – and neither are good I’m afraid.

      • Psychologist

        Sadly, I think you’re right Johnny.

  • J.

    Kerry McCarthy writes that Baroness Warsi’s recent visit to Brunei “could have been an opportunity to make clear to the people of Brunei that the UK condemns laws that [would mean homosexuality is punishable by stoning and] also fuel and incite prejudice in communities.” Few people are aware that Baroness Warsi visited Brunei last month. It is a DISGRACE that a UK Government minister recently visited that country and did not inform her host that the UK condemns the Sultan’s decree to punish homosexuality by stoning (i.e. death). Did Ms. McCarthy challenge the Government about this in the House of Commons? Did any of the opposition frontbench spokespersons? I wish Ms. McCarthy had said in the article if the Opposition challenged the Government.

    On Warsi’s visit to Brunei, Ms. McCarthy added: “This, though, is not the first time that this government has been more reticent to challenge human rights abuses in countries where they see commercial opportunities.” Indeed – reticent AND negligent, considering the Equalities Minister (Sajid Javid) personally blocked UK attendance at the EU conference on LGBT rights.

    The UK is unacceptably permissive in relation to international abuses of human rights, but particularly of LGBT rights. Our Head of State leads a Commonwealth of nations, some of which not only outlaw homosexuality but also murder gay people. These same nations receive UK taxpayer’s money in the form of ‘overseas aid’. The UK’s close association with these countries means that we are complicit in the barbaric treatment and killing of gay people.

    The situation is intolerable, yet it is apparent that the current Government does not have the willpower to act in any form whatsoever. The effect on the UK’s image and record in history is at stake. The UK’s former involvement in human rights abuses blackened the UK’s name and is forever recorded in history. Our current complicity in the ill-treatment and genocide of LGBT people will also haunt the UK. We need to know that a Labour Government will address this issue and take all measures necessary to ensure the safety of LGBT people in Commonwealth nations and other countries that we chose to associate with. It will require a UK Government to not only voice it’s condemnation but to pursue and enforce multi-lateral actions (e.g. freezing of assets; withdrawal of financial aid; suspension from international organisations) within the Commonwealth, the EU and UN. It sadly appears, from Ms. McCarthy’s vagueness, that a Labour Government will continue the current coalition’s laissez-faire attitude to international atrocities involving LGBT people, even if to a lesser degree. British noninterventionism and words alone will cost lives. We demand ACTION from a future Labour Government, Ms. McCarthy!

    • Hugh Vincelette

      Great points. Aid to the aforementioned countries should never have been given with no strings attached. Billions, through the years, has ended up in off shore bank accounts of the religious & political tyrants. That’s money from your pocket & mine. Mention above, of the encouraging & enabling of ant-gay violence, bloodshed & murders , reminds me of a statement from a grieving mother some years ago. As many of you may recall; a 21 year old college student in Laramie, Wyoming, was brutally tortured & murdered by two young punks with girlfriends in attendance.His name was Matthew Shepard. He was beaten beyond recognition & left hanging on a ranch post fence for an estimated 17 hours before being discovered by joggers. 2 days later, he succumbed to his injuries, in hospital.It was a crime that stunned the civilized world. His mother, Judy, said afterwards that she didn’t blame the young thugs who killed her son so much as society for giving them permission to do so.

  • Jon (Malaysia)

    Firstly, I have no idea what a ‘Shadow’ Minister is. I can’t imagine being a shadow anything, much less aspire to be one. That being said, considering the fact that gay friendly western countries have been “reticent to challenge human rights abuses in countries where they see commercial opportunities” makes me realize that I am less valuable than a barrel of oil. I know that’s true from a strictly mineral point of view. But, a barrel of oil will only take your car so far, or heat your house so long, or make a finite quantity of electricity. I however, if supported will be your loyal friend for all my life. I’m sure if I was a terrorized gay in a mineral rich but unenlightened country, I’d happily push your car for unlimited miles and chop cords and cords of wood for you to heat your house and pedal a generator for all your electrical needs if you would just support my need to be free and comfortable and safe in my own skin and my own country.

    • F Young
      • Jon (Malaysia)

        Thank you. I should have looked it up. Seems to actually be a quite useful position. Product of American public education here I’m sorry to have to admit.

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