The Equality & Justice Alliance (EJA), an NGO consortium funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to deliver a 2-year legal reform programme during the UK’s term as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, is delighted with the high level of interest it has received and the ambitious outcomes it has achieved. The programme’s mission has been to support advances towards the reform of laws that discriminate against and fail to protect women and girls and LGBT people, and to strengthen local advocacy efforts calling for these reforms. The four EJA partners – Human Dignity Trust, Kaleidoscope Trust, Sisters For Change and the Royal Commonwealth Society – have worked closely with Commonwealth governments, experts, champions and civil society groups to achieve these objectives. We are delighted that several legislative reform initiatives are well advanced in multiple countries, and that extensive research, advocacy campaigns and tools have also been developed with support from the programme to help advance legislative reform efforts. 

The Royal Commonwealth Society has worked particularly closely oadvancing our core mission of building and advancing a constructive Commonwealth conversation around why and how legal reform should take placeOur unique position as a trusted convenor has allowed us to bring together the diversity of the Commonwealth for sensitive discussion, to equip and enable Commonwealth governments and civil society organisations to work together more closely to take their ambitious reform projects forward. We are honoured to have welcomed high-level champions including the President of Seychelles, the Former Presidents of Botswana and Mozambiqueand the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa to RCS Equality & Justice Alliance knowledge-sharing events over the past two years. 

We are immensely proud of the work we have done through the EJA to ensure young people in the Commonwealth can have their voice heard on achieving an equal future. At our Pacific Youth and Parliamentarians Regional Dialogueyoung people and their elected representatives committed to working together more closely to achieve equality through our Pacific Action Plan. We’re also delighted to have supported the Commonwealth Youth Gender & Equality Network (CYGEN) to launch their #Reform53 – Together for Legal Equality campaign, and to have worked with Equality Bahamas to publish Activate Your Powera guide for Commonwealth leaders on how to better engage with young people to achieve legal change.  

Speaking at the conclusion of the programme, RCS Chair Dr Linda Yueh said: “I am immensely proud of what the RCS and our partners have achieved through the Equality & Justice Alliance programme, with a growing consensus building across the Commonwealth that we must take action together to achieve equality before the law for all. At the Royal Commonwealth Society, we remain committed to securing a Commonwealth where nobody should be discriminated against because of who they are, and wlook forward to continuing our work building sensitive dialogue on this critical subject in the future”. 

Find out more about our equality and inclusion work.