Peter Tatchell is right in his suggestion that the Commonwealth and its leaders have been reticent - nervous, even to address the important subject of LGBT and other human rights issues that divide the organisation's member states ('Commonwealth must put gay rights on its agenda', 13/07/11).
However, while leaders may continue to wring their hands, Commonwealth civil society bodies are campaigning on these issues and playing an important role in raising awareness and calling governments to account.
Together, the Royal Commonwealth Society and the NGO Plan have launched an advocacy campaign around early and forced marriage, which we hope will gain the support of Commonwealth leaders at the forthcoming CHOGM. It is an issue that underscores the problematic cultural relativism ubiquitous in the Commonwealth. But when 12 of the 20 countries in the world where early and forced marriage is most prevalent can be found within the Commonwealth, the issue is surely one we can no longer afford to ignore.
Mr Tatchell writes of the "true face" of the Commonwealth. I implore him to instead discover the true heart of it. Countless civil society organisations work tirelessly to promote the human rights of the Commonwealth's two billion citizens. And where the intergovernmental Commonwealth chooses to be silent on controversial subjects, many organisations like ours speak out.
We can only hope that Commonwealth leaders will heed the call of so many and begin to do the work that is necessary to show true moral leadership, modernise the organisation and protect all of its citizens. If it fails to do so, it risks fatally undermining its professed commitment to human rights and will merely succeed in convincing critics of its irrelevance.