Parliamentary group launches inquiry on global LGBT rights

Parliament

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global LGBT Rights has this week (Tuesday 21 July) announced a major new inquiry into breaches of LGBT rights worldwide.

The group was set up last month by MPs and Peers across the political parties and is the first of its kind in the UK Parliament.

The APPG’s Chair, Nick Herbert MP, announced the inquiry at a packed event held in the Speaker’s House at the House of Commons to launch the group.

The Speaker, John Bercow MP, has agreed to become Patron of the APPG.

The guest list of 150 included parliamentarians from the Lords and the Commons, businesses and other outside organisations. 30 MPs and Peers have already joined the group.

Entitled “The UK’s stance on international breaches of LGBT rights”, the inquiry will consider the most effective policies to champion and protect LGBT rights worldwide.

The APPG has invited written evidence from individuals and organisations across the private, public and third sectors, after which it will conduct a series of oral evidence sessions with experts.

The final report is expected to recommend a series of measures that the UK government, businesses and NGOs can take to enhance LGBT rights worldwide.

Speaking at the launch, APPG Chair, Nick Herbert MP (Conservative) said: “Parliamentarians are most powerful when we are speaking on behalf on those who cannot speak for themselves, when speaking on behalf of those against whom terrible injustices are being done, when speaking for those who do not have a voice. Instead of arguing amongst ourselves, we must join together and say that these injustices cannot be allowed to stand. We do not intend that this All-Party Group shall be a talking shop, a mere committee, we intend to make a difference and help to secure the advancement of rights that are being abused in other parts of the world.”

Lord (Michael) Cashman (Labour) said that the event was “an historic moment” and said: “We should pay tribute to everyone who has made this APPG a reality. It has been generations in the making and I want to pay homage who have had the courage to stand up, names that will be not noted, faces that will not be remembered but because of them, on their shoulders, we go forward.”

Stewart McDonald MP (SNP) said: “This group is the only group I ever had any intention of joining when I came to this Parliament because there is a lot of work to be done but it is work I look forward to doing. I look forward to this inquiry. I look forward to working with you all, and most of all I look forward to making progress on these critically important issues.”

Baroness (Liz) Barker (Liberal Democrat) highlighted the convening role of the APPG: “Our role is to bring together an unprecedented level of resource for different disciplines, from government, from the private sector, from the voluntary sector, from religions, to take us all forward and to a place that we never imagined in our lifetime would ever get to.”

The Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “I think it is a fantastic thing that this Group has been established. In at least 71 jurisdictions around the world, possibly more, it is still criminal to be you. There is a huge journey still to be undertaken and the challenge in this Parliament, and others all around the world is to try to broker the change of attitudes that is necessary to bring about change across the world.”