London Roundtables & Dialogues
July - August, 2018
The EJA held three seminal roundtables in London between July and August 2018. We brought together over 40 officials, MPs, lawyers, academics and civil society leaders, representing 20 Commonwealth countries, to take part in in-depth discussions on current developments and legal reform initiatives across the Commonwealth, barriers and opportunities for legal reform, and the current priorities of women’s rights and LGBT rights organisations across the Commonwealth.

1. Legal Experts Roundtable – July 2018

The EJA brought together a group of legal experts, practitioners, academics and lawyers in July 2018 to assess developments and current failings in legislative protections for specific forms of violence (including domestic violence, rape, child marriage, criminalisation of same sex relationships, hate crime and new emerging forms of violence). The dialogue took a deep dive into three legislative areas: (i) anti-discrimination legislation; (ii) sexual offences legislation; (iii) religious and family laws. Presentations given by invited experts included those from Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chair, Kagwiria Mbogori, CEDAW Committee member (Bahamas), Marion Bethel and International Commission of Jurists Senior Legal Advisor, Livio Zilli.

2. Government & Parliamentary Champions Roundtable – August 2018

This event brought together Members of Parliament (current and former), heads of Government Institutions and Government lawmakers to discuss the legal reform process and priority areas for reform related to women and girls and LGBT individuals. It also included discussions around key actors and obstacles to reform and strategies for engaging with faith leaders, parliamentary caucuses and regional inter-governmental organisations and bodies. Specific to this dialogue was a plenary discussion on how to build a network and coalition of Champions to work to catalyse change at the national level.

3. Civil Society Roundtable – August 2018

This EJA Roundtable event brought together women’s rights and LGBT activists and leaders to discuss good practice for engaging governments and national institutions, regional blocs and international human rights mechanisms to push for legislative reform. There were sessions on experiences and challenges to ensure inclusive movement building, requirements for legal capacity building, and strategies and methods to empower and engage youth activists. Presentations to catalyse discussion and reflection were given by, Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality Executive Director, Kenita Placide and Gender Links Chief Executive Officer, Colleen Lowe Morna.