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.”


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  • 2eo

    Britain’s complex can NOT possibly win, if our government tries to interfere they call us “Imperialistic” and if we don’t they call our nation “Lazy and Ignorant”, there is no position the government can take that pleases anyone.

    Personally I feel there has been too much time passed, the government of these former colonies need to start looking a what the people in each country needs and work towards that, Britain has been THE SINGLE MOST forward former colonial power in offering assistance to nations genuinely trying.

    I can’t help but feel Robertson is going for the tired “British Guilt” instead of objectively looking at the realities in each nation, merely lazily stating that Britain is solely guilty of things passed and enforced decades [even centuries] after it happened is helping nobody now.

  • alexoloughlin

    I’m sick and tired of that old tirade too. It doesn’t work any more. Those commonwealth nations are free and independent countries. The UK is damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t condemn them. If the UK can abolish its own discriminatory laws in 1967, South Africa, India, Canada, Australia and New Zealand did, then so can the rest of them without any input from the UK. Robertson isn’t aware that the UK gives financial aid to those commonwealth countries and that’s one area where I can agree that it should stop altogether.

  • Samuel

    This is one of the best article brought out by queerty this year and should be awarded the Most Gay Article Award of 2012; for actually defending and forwarding the gay agenda instead of some other one….

    Why do gay white men get tired when the truth about their country’s activities and its consequences on other nations are brought forth… especially when they don’t seem to mind shedding crocodile, colonial tears over the condition of gay men in Uganda and Africa . Are Asian (and African) homosexuals and their lives and gayness to be ignored simply because they are Asians/Africans and notof much sexual worth to the average gay westerner?This is not about Britain winning or losing; This is about gay people and their lives…

    How can you deny that the laws that were put in place by the English and their Empire with their colonial might not have have a lasting social and legal influence on the colonized population? It is hight time that gay white men take their anti afro-Asian racial hate garbage …Out of gay spaces…..

  • 2eo

    @alexoloughlin: Don’t get drawn in, that’s what it wants.

  • Samuel

    Good to see certain peoples true colours come out and which side so called oppressed people really stand….

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