Human-Rights Activist: British Government Must Take Responsibility For Colonial Anti-Gay Laws

A major human-rights advocate is calling on the British government to do more in encouraging former colonies to repeal laws criminalizing homosexuality.

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, told Gay Star News that ‘the British government has a fair amount to answer for—They should be actively trying to persuade governments to take these laws of the books.”

He calls anti-gay laws part of the “colonial inheritance” of nations like Singapore, Pakistan and Uganda—and says David Cameron’s government should speak out more decisively on the issue.

Robertson also calls on the  Commonwealth of Nations to dictate timelines for abolishing proscriptions against homosexuality.

In Malaysia, Robertson says, the situation has taken on almost comical proportions: “We’ve tried to say, ‘why are you enforcing an old British law?’ And they’ve argued back saying, ‘no, it’s not a British law—we had a law like that before the British law.’ They were trying to out-British the British with homophobic attitudes. It was really surreal.”