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Decriminalisation: Failures and Successes from around the world & Keynote by Lady Phyll

Panel: 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm  GMT+ 1

The last two decades have seen tremendous advances in LGBT rights across the world. But the story of decriminalisation has seen many ups and downs. This panel, chaired by iProbono, will share stories on both the successes and failures of the past and what lessons have been learnt from them. 

Keynote: 8:15pm - 9pm GMT+1

We are delighted to welcome the Kaleidoscope Trust's executive director (the leading charity advocating for the human rights of LGBTQ people globally) as our inspirational speaker. 

Widely known as Lady Phyll – partly due to her decision to reject an MBE to protest Britain’s role in formulating anti-LGBTQ penal codes across its empire – she joins Kaleidoscope Trust from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union, where she has spent a decade advocating for the rights of workers within the union, including as a negotiator on behalf of Civil Service workers and as the Head of Equality and Learning.

A community builder and organiser, with strong ties to emergent LGBTQ movements around the world, Opoku-Gyimah is also the co-founder and executive director of UK Black Pride, Europe’s largest celebration for LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent.

In partnership with: 


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  • Aritha Wickramasinghe
    Aritha Wickramasinghe
    Lawyer, policy expert, human rights activist.
    I am an international banking and real estate finance solicitor with substantial experience in providing premium advice and assistance on some of the largest international transactions in the market. I have always been a champion of diversity and equality in the workplace and lead and support a number of diversity and social mobility initiatives in the UK and Globally. I believe that people perform their best when they are free to be themselves. In order to encourage personal development and productivity growth, we need to create environments at work and elsewhere which encourages individuality and discourages prejudice. I believe in giving back to the community. I have initiated and contribute towards a variety of pro bono work across the world. I am a founding director of iProbono's Justice Programme, an organisation that connects civil society with pro bono legal help across the world and I am a founding trustee of THINK EQUAL - a new UN Human Rights Office endorsed education initiative that is working with countries to introduce a new subject into schools teaching children social and emotional intelligence. Over the next several years, I wish to continue my legal development. I want to develop a sound and niche knowledge of financial transactions with a projects and real estate focus while seeking exposure to emerging and frontier markets. Pro bono and diversity will remain a passion and I intend on continuing the development of my pro bono and diversity portfolio. Specialties: Finance, Real Estate Finance, Diversity networks, Pro bono iniatives, Human Rights and Public Policy
  • Victoria Vasey
    Victoria Vasey
    Head of Legal
    The Human Dignity Trust
    Victoria is Head of Legal at the Human Dignity Trust, a charity that uses the law to defend the human rights of LGBT people globally. She has been involved in supporting court cases in all regions of the world that seek to decriminalise LGBT people and challenge other discriminatory actions against them, including several landmark cases that are pushing the boundaries of international and constitutional law. Before joining the Trust, Victoria was Legal Director at the European Roma Rights Centre and, most recently, Director of North Kensington Law Centre. Previously, Victoria was a criminal defence barrister in London. She has experience of litigating strategic human rights cases, with a focus on equality law, in many European jurisdictions and before the European Court of Human Rights, the European Committee of Social Rights and UN treaty bodies. She has delivered training in human rights and strategic litigation to human rights defenders, students, lawyers and judges. Victoria’s first degree is from Oxford University and she holds a DESS (Masters) in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas).
  • M
    Mr Youngman is a passionate human rights activist with 15 years experience (both local, regional & international) in advocacy with particular focus on development, human rights and health advocacy. Mr Youngman is one of the founding members of The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana - LEGABIBO. As a pillar of the organisation and the movement at large, he saw the organisation victorious in multiple litigation processes as well as change at national and regional level. As a social justice advocate, Mr Youngman is a fighter who continues to fight for human rights including legal recognition and protection for SOGIE individuals. Furthermore, he is an advocate for gender equality, access to comprehensive safe and affordable health services & medications. Community mobilization, strategic partnerships establishments, political engagements as well as training are some of the many skills possessed by Mr Youngman that helps him achieve social change. Mr Youngman also has strong footprints in the African region. He is one of the instrumental members who saw the African region set up a regional body, Pan African ILGA - PAI which is an affiliate of ILGA World. PAI is a regional organisation with over 130 members across Africa. He served as PAI's founding board treasurer. He also serves as a member of The Other Foundation's advocacy group comprised of leading LGBTIQ organisations in the Southern African. The Other Foundation is a philanthropic organisation focused in Southern Africa.
  • M
    Vivek Divan
    Vivek Divan
    Founding Coordinator
    Centre for Health Equity, Law & Policy
    I am a lawyer and queer activist whose work has focused on the intersections of law, health and sexuality for over two decades. I head the Centre for Health Equity, Law & Policy at the Indian Law Society, Pune. Previously, I have worked at UNDP New York, helping set up the Global Commission on HIV & the Law ( and serving on it's Secretariat and Technical Advisory Group. At the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam I was faculty in the Masters in Public Health programme. I was also Coordinator of Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit from 2000-07 ,where I was part of the core team that filed the public interest litigation challenging section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and leading extensive community engagement and mobilization on the case. My work has also included co-drafting India's HIV/AIDS Act, undertaking access to medicines & patent law research and writing, and co-authoring the Legal Environment Assessment of TB in India. Originally from Bombay, I received my law degree from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and my LLM from Cornell University, NY, USA.
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