Discriminatory laws continue to blight the lives of many Commonwealth citizens. These laws are at odds with international and regional human rights norms and domestic constitutional law. They undermine human rights and perpetuate violence and discrimination. They particularly affect women and girls and LGBT people, and undermine the health and prosperity of entire societies.
Discriminatory laws do not just strip women, girls and LGBT people of their basic human rights, they affect entire countries. When over half of a nation’s population is not protected from violence or exploitation, or an individual’s identity is not recognised, it has deep repercussions for that nation’s wellbeing. And beyond the direct human cost, this type of inequality can significantly hold back a country’s economic development and growth. Women, girls and LGBT individuals might suffer the most directly, but ultimately everyone suffers.
From 2018 – 2020, Sisters For Change, as a founding member of The Equality & Justice Alliance, advocated to advance equality and promote equal protection through the law for all Commonwealth citizens, regardless of gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. As the Alliance lead on women’s rights, we convened two high-level roundtables in Africa and Asia to build the case for reform of domestic legislation where it discriminates against women and girls and worked with Governments in the Commonwealth on both legal reform and the development of new legislation to protect women and girls from discrimination and violence.