More than 90% of Commonwealth citizens live in a country that criminalises LGBTI people

The Commonwealth has the potential to be a powerful force for global political and social change. Currently, the Commonwealth compromises 53 countries and 2.344 billion people, making up nearly one-third of the total world population. Of the 53 Commonwealth countries 40 of them criminalise same-sex sexual activity.


The 40 Commonwealth countries that have laws that crminalise same-sex sexual activity make-up 29% of the world's population and over half of the total countries in the world that criminalise homosexuality. In the Commonwealth over 2.118 billion people live with laws that criminalise sexual orientation and gender identity. That figure makes up over 90.36% of the total population of the Commonwealth.


 These numbers are astounding and only begin to describe the challenges facing the majority of Commonwealth citizens. This November, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2015 is led by Malta, which recently was listed by ILGA as the most-friendly country in the Europe for LGBTI individuals. The Commonwealth Equality Network hopes to make headway with other Commonwealth governments to work toward creating safe and equal living conditions for LGBTI individuals throughout the Commonwealth.






  1. The World Bank, “Data: Population Total,” (2014) available at
  2. Central Intelligence Agency, “The World Factbook,” (2015) available at
  3. Population Reference Bureau, “2015 World Population Data Sheet,” (2015) available at
  4. ILGA, “State-Sponsored Homophobia,” (May 2015) available at
  5. ILGA, “Rainbow Europe: Country Ranking,” (2015) available at
November 12, 2015