The case concerned two homosexual men who sought asylum in the UK on the basis that they would face persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation if returned to their home countries. In their countries of origin (Iran and Cameroon), engaging in homosexual acts is punishable by death. The question for the court was whether the men could be expected to conceal their sexual orientation in order to avoid the risk of persecution. The Supreme Court held that no one should be expected to conceal their sexual orientation in order to avoid persecution.
In this statement the Bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa called upon the South African Government to seek the release of Stephen Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, who were sentenced in Malawi to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour, after they shared in a traditional engagement ceremony. The Bishops stated that despite the breadth of theological views amongst them on matters of human sexuality, they were united in opposing the criminalisation of LGBT people.
The Supreme Court of Philippines found that the Commission of Elections (“COMELEC”) had made an impermissible distinction on the basis of sexual orientation when it refused to register the organisation Ang Ladlad as a political party. The Supreme Court did not recognise homosexuals as a class requiring special protection. Instead it found that the classification imposed by COMELEC was irrational, in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
This is the response of the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association to a private members bill introduced in the Ugandan Parliament in 2009. The Bill, if enacted, would have established life imprisonment for anyone convicted of the offence of ‘homosexuality’, and imposed the death penalty on anyone convicted of the offence of ‘aggravated homosexuality’. The opinion considers the compatibility of the Bill with international human rights law. The analysis also considers the broader issue of any form of criminalisation of consensual private homosexual acts and is therefore of relevance to a large number of Commonwealth jurisdictions.
The case was bought by the Naz Foundation, an NGO working with people living with HIV/AIDS. The Naz Foundation argued that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which had effectively been interpreted as criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex, was unconstitutional. They argued that the section violated fundamental rights to equality, non-discrimination, privacy, life and liberty and health. The High Court of Delhi concluded that section 377 was indeed unconstitutional, and the judgment emphasises the importance of the right to equality.
The Supreme Court of Nepal issued a writ of mandamus stating that non-discrimination provisions on the grounds of sexual orientation must be introduced into the constitution of Nepal. The Court stated that all LGBT persons are ‘natural persons’ and that their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression are all part of natural growing processes. Equal rights, identity and expression must therefore be ensured.