The UK based Stonewall organisation has had its request to lobby for gay rights not only in the UK, but internationally approved by the Charity Commission. Acting to allow the charity to ‘promote human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent UN conventions throughout the world’, Stonewall chair David Isaac said:
‘We’re delighted at the Charity Commission’s decision,’
‘After our biennial supporters’ survey last year a number of supporters raised the importance of international work with us now that the legislative landscape in Britain is almost equalised. Having canvassed a wide sample of our supporters during the last 12 months and reviewed our obligations under charity law, we’re clear that our lobbying and research teams now have the opportunity to influence overseas without undermining the important work – such as our pioneering Education for All programme – to which we’re absolutely committed in Britain. We look forward to working with other groups seeking to deliver change internationally. As Stonewall will seek to influence from within the UK our focus will, we hope, complement the work of others.’
Whilst this has for a long time been the aim of the organisation, it has come as something of a surprise to Stonewall that it has happened so fast with Stonewall’s Chief Executive Ben Summerskill saying that they’d thought it would take at least 10 or 15 years to secure when they first set out on the journey to secure it back in 2003.
Adding that he felt their work in the UK now put them in a strong position to further their work overseas, Summerskill commented that:
’Having achieved almost all of those legal changes, we’re now in a stronger position to commend Britain’s legislative framework to other countries around the world. The dogged support of tens of thousands of individual donors means that we’re one of the few charities in the country whose income has continued to grow throughout the recession. That commitment means that involvement in overseas advocacy will not dilute any of our existing domestic activities; we retain our ambition to make Britain a worldwide beacon for equality.’