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Hamzić, Vanja (2014) 'Review of Corrine Lennox and Matthew Waites (eds), Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, 2013).' Human Rights Law Review, 14 (2). pp. 386-390.

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One important conclusion that the two co-editors make in a fairly straightforward manner is that they are ultimately sceptical of whether the Commonwealth, as an intergovernmental organisation, could play a positive role in the future (p. 538). ‘Here we can only acknowledge the tensions and help open up, rather than resolve, necessary debates’, write Lennox and Waites, ‘over the extent to which the Commonwealth can be reinvented through human rights’ (p. 544). And, this is, perhaps, of crucial importance. It will arguably take much more than the Commonwealth’s formal commitment to human rights relating to sexual orientation and gender identity to undo this organisation’s burdensome colonial legacy, including in the processes of criminalisation and decriminalisation of same-sex sexual behaviour. Lennox and Waites are right to conclude that ‘it is voices of the South that will carry the greatest legitimacy in eradicating a harmful colonial legacy’ (p. 544); but, such voices are incomplete and less effective without ‘Southern epistemologies [and] theories’ (p. 13), which, although promised, do not feature prominently in the volume. Still, one cannot deny that a pioneering trail has been blazed by this book, which invites future travellers to more daring and comprehensive undertakings.

Item Type: Book Reviews
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Gender Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law > Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law (CCEIL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KL Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica
ISSN: 14617781
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2014 13:39

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