Every year, millions of LGBT people across the Commonwealth face physical, sexual and psychological abuse and violence because of who they are and who they love.

Legal reform, through the provision of hate crime legislation, is crucial to addressing hate-based violence by explicitly protecting marginalised individuals and communities from targeted abuse, yet fewer than 10 of the 54 Commonwealth countries have legislation to recognise, prevent and punish hate crimes, including those committed on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

(CW: The following film contains scenes of physical violence and mention of abuse and sexual violence against LGBT people which some viewers may find distressing and/or traumatic)

The Human Dignity Trust’s new film, A Wake Up Call: Hate Crime Law in the Commonwealth, commissioned and produced in association with creative agency The Good Side, and funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, was shot in 2019 in Belize, India, Kenya, Seychelles and Singapore. Featuring high production values, it is a heartfelt and compelling call to action and includes interviews with LGBT activists, government officials, lawmakers and hate crimes experts.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it must be that violence in any society is unacceptable. Addressing hate-motivated crime is one important place to start; we hope this new film inspires governments in the Commonwealth and beyond to follow the lead of countries like Belize and take urgent steps to introduce protective laws for some of their most vulnerable citizens. Old laws that incite hatred and violence against LGBT people must be abolished, and new laws specifically condemning prejudice-based violence can help re-set societal values and expectations

Téa Braun, Director, Human Dignity Trust

Watch the video, a three minute version and other films on legal reforms in the Commonwealth on the Trust’s YouTube channel, and subscribe to catch all our new content.

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…We must demonstrate that we will not tolerate anything related to any type of hate crimes, and if it happens – that we provide those persons with legal recourse to address them

Laura Tucker-Longsworth, Speaker of the House of Representatives – Belize

To find out more take a look at HDT’s in-depth reports on hate crimes against LGBT people in the Commonwealth:

Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth: A Situational Analysis

Legislating to Address Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth

For more information contact:

Emma Eastwood, Head of Strategic Communications, HDT

E: [email protected]

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We provide technical assistance on request to governments looking to reform discriminatory sexual offence laws and to enact protective legislation.



In 64 countries there are still laws criminalising LGBT people which fuel stigma, legitimise prejudice and encourage violence. The Human Dignity Trust exists to change this. Your donation will help us support activists around the world to bravely challenge these discriminatory laws. Together, we can bring forward the day when no one is criminalised because of who they are or who they love.

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