With Prince Charles recently declared the next leader of the Commonwealth it might be worth peering into the commonwealth and its values to hold up as an example of how far the world is to come.
The commonwealth is an association (formerly known as the British Commonwealth) which, after the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 has become an association for decolonised nations. Its fundamental principles rise out of 16 core values that members must adhere to, including dedication to causes such as democracy, gender equality, sustainable development and international peace.
However, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association have researched and discovered 15 accounts of prosecution for homosexuality in Commonwealth countries all within the last 3 years. Criticisms of the commonwealth as a post-colonial club therefore extend also to allegations of repressing a necessary national dialogue regarding LGBT rights. Some argue that the unique point of contact between Commonwealth countries upheld by two summits a year are not being utilised in a way that furthers the rights of those in the LGBT community. This point of view is not a particularly outlandish one with the BBC publishing a painfully long full list of countries where homosexuality is outlawed, many of which belong to the Commonwealth. These countries include:
Antigua and Barbuda
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Papua New Guinea
Whilst it might come as a shock to some that countries heavily influenced by the UK, supposedly holding the same values of peace and equality might deny what should be deemed a basic human right, it might be worth noting that we are not quite there ourselves. We have a long way to go, but it may well start with a critique of the Commonwealth.