The country of Sri Lanka is making a progressive and monumental shift as they work to revise their laws to protect LGBT people.
The United Nations performed their Universal Periodic Review, which involves a review of the country’s human rights records, and criticized the country’s government for criminalizing homosexuality. Currently if you are a person who identifies as LGBT in the country you could face up to 10 years in prison.
In response, the Sri Lankan government announced homosexuality will now be decriminalized.
“The government is committed to ensuring that no provision in the law would be applied to persons of the LGBTIQ community in a discriminatory manner,” said Nerin Pulle, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Solicitor General. “Despite social, political and cultural challenges that remain with respect to reforming law, Sri Lanka remains committed to law reform and guaranteeing non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
According to a report done last year by Human Rights Watch, the LGBT community in Sri Lanka faces abuse and discrimination when it comes to issues such as healthcare and employment. With seven recommendations proposed from the UN to have laws that advocate and combat discrimination for LGBT people, many are hoping to see these numbers drop.
The executive director of Sri Lanka’s leading LGBTQ organization Equal Ground Rosanna Flamer-Caldera believes by taking a stand to stand against discrimination the Sri Lankan government is committing to the basic dignity and respect that the LGBT community deserves.
“No one deserves to be targeted by the law because of who they are or whom they love,” Flamer-Caldera said. ”Our government has shown significant resolve in pledging to address the criminalisation faced by the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ community and guarantee them basic rights that have for so long been denied. Whether LGBTIQ or not, we are all entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights. We look forward to the government fulfilling on this commitment.”