Labour leadership candidate Liz Kendall today called on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a special envoy for LGBT rights as part of achieving equality globally.
"We've seen great strides for equality at home and abroad, most recently in Ireland and America, but we know there is so much more to do. That's why I want to see the United Nations Secretary General appoint a special envoy for LGBT rights so that the world knows it is time to act," said Kendall.
"We’ve seen the impact the US government has had from appointing Randy Berry as the Administration’s envoy for LGBT rights. Now the UN should do the same. It’s time to decriminalise homosexuality around the world."
She also spoke out against Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and his recent memo which called for the UK not to fly rainbow flags from its embassies during the Pride season
. "The UK government should be leading calls for the United Nations to be taking action on LGBT equality. Sadly we have a Foreign Secretary who is more interested in taking down the Pride flag and banning our embassies abroad from flying it than promoting equality globally. Any government I lead will not only see the Foreign Office fly the Pride flag proudly but so too will our embassies abroad as they work to repeal anti-LGBT laws globally."
Being gay is still illegal in 78 countries around the world, with homosexuality a criminal offence in 41 countries within the Commonwealth. Kendall says she wants to see Michael Cashman serve as Labour's international LGBT envoy in opposition and in government, as was promised by Ed Miliband during the general election campaign. She also praised the outgoing leader for his work in this area. "One of Ed Miliband's achievements was bringing Labour's voice to the global debate for LGBT equality. Not just that, he showed his willingness to combat discrimination head on when he pledged to appoint Michael Cashman as our global ambassador on LGBT rights."
Kendall has made the global promotion of LGBT rights a key part of her campaign for the Labour leadership, something we took a closer look at when we weighed her against fellow candidates
Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn.