At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 in London, UK Prime Minister Theresa May expressed deep regret for Britain’s role in instituting colonial-era laws that discriminate against women and girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people, many of which remain in force today. Mrs May noted that:
"as a family of nations we must respect one another’s cultures and traditions. But we must do so in a manner consistent with our common value of equality, a value that is clearly stated in the Commonwealth charter… the UK stands ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible.”
The Equality & Justice Alliance was formed to provide this support, with funding of £5.6m from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Between 2018 and 2020 the RCS will be working with our Alliance partners from the Kaleidoscope Trust, Human Dignity Trust, and Sisters For Change, on an ambitious programme of work to support Commonwealth governments and civil society organisations to reform unjust laws. We are co-leading work in a range of Commonwealth countries, supporting civil society coalitions to advocate for reform and working with high-level Champions who are leading the call for change. The EJA will also be delivering a programme of technical support to Commonwealth government that request assistance to deliver legal reform.
We are supporting the work of Commonwealth leaders who advocate for the rights of women and girls and LGBT + people.
As part of the Equality & Justice Alliance programme, we brought together elected representatives in Cape Town to discuss how to reform laws that discriminate.
We are supporting diverse coalitions to advance equality before the law in a range of Commonwealth countries.