Britain warned of serious backlash over “anti-gay” threat

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 31, 2011 – Caribbean and African groups representing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) have warned of a “real risk of serious backlash” against members following Britain’s threat to cut aid to countries that do not reform legislation banning homosexuality.

And, they have collectively called for British Prime Minister David Cameron to revise the threat.

A statement issued by dozens of groups and individuals said, “The decision to cut aid disregards the role of the LGBTI and boarder social justice movement”, adding that such sanctions would sustain the divide between members of its community and the broader civil society movement.

“The imposition of donor sanctions may be one way of seeking to improve the human rights situation in a country but does not, in and of itself, result in the improved protection of the rights of LGBTI people,” the groups stated.

“Donor sanctions are by their nature coercive and reinforce the disproportionate power dynamics between donor countries and recipients.”

Executive Director of the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) Ian McKnight said in an interview that the threat, if acted on, would erode the gains made by the Caribbean over the last 10 years in reducing deaths from AIDS through access to anti-retroviral treatments.

He said Britain makes significant financial contributions to the Global Fund for the fight against the disease.

“When they pull that out, I would say at least 90 per cent of what it cost our countries to provide free treatment will be gone. Most of our countries do not have the local domestic money to foot this bill,” McKnight said.

The groups have urged Britain to expand aid to community based and lead LGBT programmes, support national and regional human rights mechanisms and support the entrenchment of LGBTI issues into broader social justice issues.

Forty-one of the 54 Commonwealth countries have laws banning homosexuality. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)