“Getting the laws right is such an important part of ending the sort of discrimination that we have seen.”
Samuel Leighton-Dore

20 Apr 2018 - 4:54 PM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2018 - 5:00 PM

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced plans for the UK to spend over $9 million in the campaign to end anti-LGBT laws in Commonwealth nations.

The announcement was made at an event held in parliament by the Kaleidoscope Trust, an organisation which works to uphold the human rights of LGBT people internationally, and coincided with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

Petition with 100,000 signatures calls on Commonwealth countries to decriminalise homosexuality
Homosexuality remains illegal in 37 countries of the 53 Commonwealth countries.

Speaking to local LGBT activists, Rudd conceded that anti-LGBT laws formed a dark part of Britain's history, saying: “The anti-LGBT laws in some Commonwealth countries are a legacy of Britain’s colonial past." 

She continued: “The UK Prime Minister made clear on Tuesday that we have some deep regrets about Britain’s historical legacy of anti-gay laws across the Commonwealth.”

“We recognise our social responsibility, as well as being the right think to do, to promote LGBT equality in the UK and in the Commonwealth," she said, according to reports from Pink News.

“We’re going to stand ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform their outdated legislation that makes discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity possible."

“I’m pleased to announce we will provide £5.6m (approx $9.1 million AUD) for a program to support LGBT and gender equality, working with oranisations including the Kaleidoscope Trust, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Human Dignity Trust and Sisters for Change to support the reform of the laws," Rudd shared.

“Getting the laws right is such an important part of ending the sort of discrimination that we have seen.”

The announcement was welcome news to activists, particularly Edwin Sesange from the African Equality Foundation, whose petition to decriminalise homosexuality in Commonwealth countries garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

The renewed efforts also followed a string of comments from politicians and members of the Royal Family, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who earlier this week said she “deeply regrets” Britain’s historical legacy of anti-gay laws, and Prince Harry's fiancé Meghan Markle, who was quoted as saying: "This is a basic human rights issue, not one about sexuality."