Friday, August 12, 2016

Guatemala's Border Dispute: A Belizean LGBT Prospective

Posted August 8th, 2016

The current debate on Guatemala ad Belize about sovereignty has forced the United Belize Advocacy Movement to look into the level of violence that affects both countries from a LGBT prospective. What the research alludes to is that both countries are challenged to address violence that occurs within its borders, have grossly under-invested in addressing human rights mechanisms, and renders, systematically, its LGBT citizens invisible in policy and planning.  

Let's examine the global picture of trans murders. Trans Murder Monitoring project issued its IDAHOT  reported that counted  2115  killings of trans and gender diverse people in 65 countries worldwide between the 1st of January 2008 and the 30th of April 2016. 1,654 of which were reported in Central and South America. The annual report up to December 2015 points out,

Further analysis of this data shows that 65% of all murdered trans and gender diverse people whose profession was known were sex workers...the highest absolute numbers have been found in countries with strong trans movements and civil society organizations that carry out forms of professional monitoring.

The TMM data mapping revealed that it received between 2008-2015 Guatemala had, 39 trans murders, but Belize had 2 documented in that same time period.  The 2012 Shadow Report for 104th session of the Human Rights Committee reveals at least 35 LGBT people were murdered in Guatemala between 1996 and 2006 on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but between 2009 to 2010, alone, at least 30 transgender individuals were killed. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions noted,

 “There has been impunity for murders motivated by hatred towards persons identifying as gay, lesbian, transgender, and transsexual.”In approximately 34% of cases of violent crimes against transgender women, the assailants could be identified, but there is little evidence of charges ever being brought.

In Belize, we have documented 32 murders  or attempted from 1997 to 2015 that have occurred for various reasons. In all we have received 146 reports of  socio-economic and civil rights violations that have gone unanswered.

 



The breakdown of data base on human rights violation for Belize between 1997 to 2015 follows a system of under-reporting that invisible violence in our country against persons who are LGBT Belizeans. A result that allows state systems to deny that violence and discriminate occur, including bias-motivated crimes. No state system have these data in Belize except the United Belize Advocacy Movement.

 


This violence exists both states, Belize has never experience genocide or a 30 year arm conflict. The Guatemalan armed conflict from 1962 to 1996 have not ended violence after loosing an estimated 300,000 people. Even years later, he country 's recorded killings  routinely exceed 5,000 per year. In fact, in 2010, 4,925 violent deaths were recorded, including 41 lynchings, as well as 6,132 reports injury as a result of violent attacks.  Of the 30,873 reported incidents of violence against women in 2009, only 0.7% of the cases led to a prosecution and 0.2% to criminal sentences. Guatemala’s rate for 2015 was little unchanged: 36 homicides per 100,000 people, with 5,718 murders — slightly less than the 38 per 100,000 rate recorded in 2014. For Belize murders of citizens totaled, 1,553 between 2000-2015 with 672 rapes and 7,541 robberies.





        
 
When crime data is compared to military might, Guatemala has 14,918,999 citizens, 5.518m fit for service, 15,500 active front line personnel, with 340,000 citizens reaching military age annually. It has 20 tanks, 134 armored fighting vehicles,  with a defense budget of $210,000,000us.The Belize government spent, $32m us on the military with active personnel at 1,330 with 750  in reserves as of 2016.

When gross domestic product is added in 2015 it stood at $1.76b or  less than .1%  of the Worlds Economy for Belize, but Guatemala's Gross Domestic Product is $63b. Guatemala's per capita income, $3850us, however, was less than Belize's $7,098.23us in 2015.


What is this thing called the border dispute? It really is about how we value our human rights institutions, like the judiciary, its about whether the rate of poverty will go up or  down at the border lines with Guatemala; its about, whether Belize will improve its redress mechanisms with money and personnel tat is accessible to the every day man or woman. We may not have a history of modern genocide, but we do something far worse to our citizens, complicity has attack the dignity of citizens and the practice of collective silence have allowed the perpetuation of mistreatment.

Going to the ICJ or not, we still need to deal with citizens security both economic and personal. The struggle continues.

  
 Guatemala's Stop Trans Murders
 https://www.outrightinternational.org/content/guatemala-stop-trans-murders-guatemala

 Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People in Guatemala: A Shadow Report
file:///C:/Users/Caleb/AppData/Local/Temp/566-1.pdf

TMM IDAHOT Release
http://transrespect.org/en/idahot-2016-tmm-update/

Transgender Day of Violence:
http://transrespect.org/en/tdov-2016-tmm-update/

Tansgender Data MAP
http://transrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/TvT_TMM_TDoV2016_Tables_EN.pdf

Guatemala Military Strengthen
http://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=guatemala

Belize Military
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belize_Defence_Force

Northern Triangle Violence
http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/01/05/central-americas-violent-northern-triangle-registers-17422-homicides-in-2015

Belize GDP 2015
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/belize/gdp
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/belize/gdp-per-capita-ppp

Guatemala GDP 2015
https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/country-data/guatemala-gdp-country-report




Thursday, August 11, 2016

Orosco's Lesson

  Reposted August 11th, 2016

Orosco’s Lessons
 
There’s lots to learn from Orosco!
Despite people trying to make his plight into a fiasco
Taking on the entire nation and won
Disaporan Belize needs to challenge section 63 (1)
BPP needs to bring a case for the signing of the
UN convention on Anti Corruption
So does the entire Nation
He’s taught us how to lobby
He’s taught us how to agitate
He’s taught us how engage
He taught us not to accept being marginalize
Or self ostracize
He taught us to organize
He taught us to endure with tear in your eyes
He taught us to push on despite being criticized
Caleb did not do this he owe
He put up his office near his home
He sought international affiliations
He was thinking of future generations
He started web- site and attended international forums
Researched and lobbied among those ready for action
He show more ump than our politicians
He’s taught us how to lobby
He’s taught us how to agitate
He’s taught us no engage
He taught us not to marginalize
Or self ostracize
He taught us to organize
He taught us to endure with tear in your eyes
He taught us to push on despite being criticized
International lawyers and students joined his crusade
Removing any national blockade
Then international bodies tried to persuade
Our government to engage
Then it went further into diminishing UN aid
Then it began affecting international trade
Then more pressures came down like a two edged blade
This ruling was years in the making
We laughed as he made the media encircling
I remember ‘lik road’and Dickie trying to make fun of him
His tenacity, passion and determination got this win
His mother must be proud of him
The bigots are still singing sin
He’s taught us how to lobby
He’s taught us how to agitate
He’s taught us no engage
He taught us not to marginalize
Or self ostracize
He taught us to organize
He taught us to endure with tear in your eyes
He taught us to push on despite being criticized
By: Abdulmajeed K Nunez

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Coalition,Belize:Against the Odds at the DR OAS General Assembly


 Posted June 17th, 2016


In 2016 fundamentalists clash with our LGBTTI Coalition in an anti-climatic way at the OAS General Assembly meeting in Santo Domingo. They appeared in droves on the street, but in response, as a member of the coalition, I decided to take pictures of them in the background in defiance of their overwhelming numbers with a simply message, "Zero Discrimination.' I cant say the OAS LGBTTI coalition was surprise to see the numbers, but I can say that the numbers reminded me of our experience in Belize, 2013 when the so called 'constitutional marches'  was organized across the country.


In 2013, we saw fundamentalists influenced by Belize Action, organized themselves in the South of Belize with close to 2,000 people walking on foot, with a hanging effigy leading that march. It was through Se la Vee, a virtual forum on social issues that  allies and community members learned of the effigy through an uploaded cellphone video. It was strongly condemned by then Minister Lisel Allamila and many others in the community as bordering on hate. The odds were not in our favor to be able to organized a march that large, but allies and community member remain defiant in their position that Belizean fundamentalists were wrong in having the effigy leading the march.

 




The Channel five story of July 11th, 2013 reported on the issue," The lynching of an effigy depicting one or, symbolically, all members of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), during a pro-constitution march held in Toledo last Friday, has raised grave concerns." Realising, too late, that the effigy was bad public communication that promoted an imagery of violence, Belizean fundamentalist  distance themselves. The coverage done by Western Vision highlighed the point in it's report,  "..Three of the participants in the pro-Constitution March, BelizeCan, Belize Action and Rise and Shine, have issued a statement regarding photographs purporting to show the hanging in effigy of UNIBAM...' and goes on to say, “We strongly condemn and discourage the use of such placards or images which can be perceived as sending the wrong message. We encourage Belizeans to exercise their right to rally in a respectful, responsible, and God-fearing manner,” said the statement.   Louis Wade, the owner of Plus."

We were glad our opponents made fundamental public communication mistakes because it provided evidence of homophobia and that discrimination and hate was real. We fought back in the timely release of a report called Dangerous Liaisons and got our opponents to admit that they were working with right-wing American groups. The New Seven report made July, 29th 2013 states, 'He does admit that ADF and C-FAM has provided advice, legal assistance and strategy, and he says quote,“they are assisting in cases all over the world in the homosexual global attack on morality & family values.”' The argument of a foreign Agenda was reversed unto our opponents for the first time.

 The theme of social defiance in national advocacy, as we experienced in Belize,  reflected the current extended left and right push and pull in many international spaces. The OAS General Assembly, is no different, in fact, opposition and counter-engagement strategies in the norm at the OAS. When we found members of the Coalition being prevented from using the public bathroom during the General Secretary Dialogue, members naturally protested against the indignity. It helped to have the media there to cover their concern and it helped to learn the following day that there would be gender-neutral bathrooms at a coalition meeting.


 
When we found ourselves in a room where fundamentalists outnumbered our coalition members 2 to 1, we were not having it. As a result, members and allies alike came back swinging with signs.Yes, the fundamentalists were out in droves, what we did not have in numbers we made up in spirit with our Jamaican colleague signs leading the way, which said, ' End Religious Extremism!' and 'Religious Extremism Kills!" and 'Protect my Gay Family'. Our coalition added their two cent with trans flags and signs as well, while other coalition members had their own signs like 'LGBTTI are Humans Too!' and held up, 'diverse families.' Signs and sounds began to bloom in torrent of organized chaos at the Secretary General OAS dialogue, but at least it was respectful.


 





The fundamentalists came back at us through their speakers and signs like ' no gender ideology.' They used working groups to lay down their positions and they sought to shut out the coalition from participating in the General Assembly process. In fact, we learned from one of our colleagues from Guatemala that the bathroom incident form the basis for arguments of exclusion of the coalition from engaging with ambassadors during the Permanent Council process. A fact, we learn a day later after the coalition engaged representative of the Inter-American Court.














 

 When we arrived at Foreign Ministry building for Santo Domingo, we were herded into a small room and made to wait by officials. Members of the coalition were upset about the exclusion for in nine years of attending the OAS General  Assembly the Coalition has always had the freedom to listen and engage quietly with representative on the Permanent Council about their concern. Officials eventually met us and we expressed concerns about being held hostage in the room and they expressed concerns about the news reports painting them badly.



  


The agreement was not reached without, a transwoman from Santo Domingo contribution to local media from the room window, while we waited for final agreement. The result of that unwanted contribution led to to security calling for four more persons to block the window to prevent persons inside the room from shouting to the media who were directly outside. During the process, they had a security officer take our photos, so we took out our cameras and took pictures of them. We agreed that we would take off our cameras and they would remove their efforts at documenting who was in the room. Fascinatingly, we saw our internet slow down and the air-conditioning cut off while we waited for negotiations to happen. The point made by officials was that there was no space, but the point we made was that they knew exactly how many people would come and that they had the burden of responsibility to planned properly. In the end, it was agreed to let every person in the room plus one person from registered organizations.

Like all General Assembly, the work of the coalition would not be complete without picture taking from Belize and its Caribbean Colleagues who made every effort to reach out to representatives. It was interesting at this general assembly to hear how countries in the Caribbean extended their condolences to the people of the US  about the Orlando Shooting. Jamaica and Trinidad made mentioned of Orlando, but Belize's Foreign Minister Erlington said in his speech,"their pain is our pain, their grief is our grief!" a point as a Belizean citizen, I can appreciate. Other  Caribbean colleagues sought to reach out to their representatives and documented their efforts at engagement by taking a picture or two, or simply asking a question during the Secretary General Dialogue. We did our part in a meeting with the representative of the Inter-American Court, with the representative from Barbados speaking up.



 
 


For Belize visibility meant expanding our presence through Zahnia Canul and Tia with her network,  REDLACTRAN. It was a welcomed sight to see her expand her understanding of political communication to strengthen her capacity. Zahnia can be seen here, holding a sign, but documenting the speech and supporting the concerns of her network very strongly at the Secretary General dialogue. I added my concern about tolerance and ensured that I engaged Belize's Assistant Secretary General of the OAS Nestor Mendez whom can be seen side by side with the Secretary General below.

 


I look forward to see what 2017 brings, protests has happened in Paraguay and Guatemala, -prior to Santo Domingo, but never in numbers like Santo Domingo, I wonder while there, how many of the people protesting realized that they are protesting against their own health and right needs. I look forward to 2017 in Mexico.

Source:
Minister Alamilla appalled by hanging of UNIBAM effigy in P.G.
 http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/87925

Group Distance themselves from UNIBAM Effigy
 http://www.westvision.bz/groups-distance-themselves-from-unibam-effigy/

Report Dangerous Liaison
http://ambergriscaye.com/art2/dangerous_liaisons_splc-report.pdf

Stirm Strikes Bank at SPLC
http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=26163&frmsrch=1

Friday, May 13, 2016

TMM IDAHOT Report for 17 May, 2016

Reposted: May 13th, 2016
 
International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHOT) Press Release
Already 100 reported murders of trans people in 2016

On occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT)[1] held on the 17 of May every year, Transgender Europe (TGEU) is publishing the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project[2] update to join the voices raising awareness on this day about the multiple forms of discrimination and violence faced by LGBTI people worldwide.
This update (TMM IDAHOT 2016) reveals 100 reported murders of trans and gender diverse people in 2016, which is the highest number in the first 4 months of the year registered by the TMM project since 2008. In total, the numbers add up to 2115 reported killings of trans and gender diverse people in 65 countries worldwide between the 1st of January 2008 and the 30th of April 20161654 of which were reported in Central and South America.
Throughout all six world regions, the highest absolute numbers have been found in countries with strong trans movements and civil society organisations that carry out forms of professional monitoring: Brazil (845), Mexico (247), Colombia (108), Venezuela (104), and Honduras (80) in Central and South America; the United States (141) in North America; Turkey (43) and Italy (34) in Europe; and India (55), the Philippines (40) and Pakistan (35) in Asia.[3]
TGEU’s Senior Researcher, Carsten Balzer/Carla LaGata, affirms, The TMM figures show only the tip of the iceberg of homicides of trans and gender diverse people on a worldwide scale, as these cases are those found through Internet search and cooperation with trans organisations and activists. In most countries, data on murdered trans and gender diverse people are not systematically produced, and it is impossible to estimate the numbers of unreported cases.” S_he adds, “as TGEU started to move towards more cooperation with organisations and networks in several countries in Africa, Asia, and South America in 2016 and increased the number of staff working on the TMM project, it is very likely that the figures registered will be higher in the future.”
The situation in Brazil is especially worrying, with 40% of the cases since January 2008, and 42% of the cases in 2016 so far worldwide“One of the factors contributing to the increase in the already high number of trans and gender diverse people murdered in the country is the recently-established cooperation between TGEU and the Brazilian trans network Rede Trans Brasil. This allows for a joint effort in more thoroughly and professionally monitoring and reporting the violence against trans and gender diverse people,”explains TGEU’s Transrespect Officer, Lukas Berredo, who joined TGEU’s Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide project team in 2016.
The theme for IDAHOT 2016 is “Mental Health and Well Being”. In most countries, trans and gender diverse people must receive an official mental health diagnosis in order to access gender affirming services and legal gender recognition. This psychiatrisation of trans identities strongly contributes to the stigmatization and violence towards trans and gender diverse people.
 
For More Information: TGEU Senior Researcher, Carsten Balzer/Carla LaGata, and TGEU Transrespect Officer, Lukas Berredo, are available for interviews and questions, and can be reached at carla[at]tgeu.org or at lukas[at]tgeu.org, respectively.
 
NOTES:
In 2012, Transgender Europe published “TRANSRESPECT VERSUS TRANSPHOBIA WORLDWIDE – A Comparative Review of the Human-rights Situation of Gender-variant/Trans People”, which contextualises the TMM data: http://transrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/TvT_research-report.pdf
[1] The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) is dedicated to raise awareness about the alarming situation of discrimination and violence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, trans, and intersex people. It was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
[2] The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project started in April 2009, and since then it has been systematically monitoring, collecting, and analysing reports of homicides of trans and gender diverse people worldwide. Updates of the results, which have been presented in July 2009 for the first time, are published on the “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” project website from two to four times a year in form of tables, name lists, and maps.
[3] The TMM IDAHOT 2016 update reports killings of trans and gender diverse people between January 2008 and April 2016 in all world regions: 1654 killings in 23 countries in Central and South America, which account for 78,2% of the globally reported murders; 183 killings in 16 Asian countries; 146 killings in North America; 117 killings in 16 European countries; 10 killings have been reported in 4 African countries; and 5 killings in 4 countries in Oceania.
 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Pedestal: Supporting Belizean Women, Diversity for it matters

14th March, 2016

 










On March 11th, I had the chance to walk with the 20,000 strong women march from B.T.L Park onward. It seems I will be late for my own funeral, but never the less, it was a taxi that allowed me to get to the back of the line. Why did I walk you might ask,its simple, for sister and mom. My sister, who helped to subsidize my life, when I was not working, she found a job for me at Lionel Welch Law Firm( who died) as an office assistant. As a result, I saved enough money on my credit union book that allowed me to borrow and pay back for my University Education. This was back in 2000 when I learned that the state will help with tuition, but gave me the responsibility to cover books and administration fees. It was my sister legal knowledge that built the foundations for my interest in law, provided support to do errands and have reports completed over the years. It was my sister I turn to when I need my KIA fixed for she was kind enough to marry a mechanic.

     For the record, I know nothing about cars, I learned to drive at age 39 and only learned that there are three holes that require fluid. I am still confused as to what goes into what. She found the car that I currently drive and she is the one who text or calls me, to check if  put in enough fluids in the car or at all. I am the one who call her when my batteries die, over and over again, in the first years of learning to drive. I am the one that called her for engine and basic maintenance problems, she then turns to her husband for guidance on the technical aspects of the car. Yes, when it comes to cars, I am dense. I was so dense, I was driving with two legs, until I realize that I was suppose to use one leg for gas and brakes. I have no shame in saying so. When I needed my Red KIA dragged from a village in the Orange Walk district, she got her husband to drive from Belmopan to Orange Walk to drag it back to Belmopan the same day. I asked them to sell the car in parts and they have done so slowly. My sister along with her husband has driven my car several times, as much as 50 miles to ensure its servicing was correct. I can never pay for the goodwill of my sister.

This is the influence of a woman with knowledge and a strong work ethic who's contributions to her family, remains undervalued, who's contribution to the economy remain invisible in formal economic data gathering, who is not represented sufficiently in cabinet, our police force, as an entrepreneur, as a doctor,fire woman and as a mother.


Of note, unemployment rate in Belize averaged 11.92% from 1993 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 23.30 % in 2010 and a record low of 8.2 % in 2008. It decreased to 11.1% in 2014 from 11.7 % in 2013. The unemployment rate as of September, 2015 stood at 10.2%, but literacy rates was 79.7% (2010), life expectancy 73.7% (2014), poverty rates is 41.3%(2009).

When we look at literacy rates, I must point out that it is mostly women who start their children to count fingers, repeat letters aloud, give their children crayons to scratch so their children could have the motors skills to form complete letter before or during their children attendance to kindergarden. In Belize, we spend in excess of 25% of our national budget on education, having almost 100,000 students at all levels double that of 1990 with almost 5000 teachers with 541 schools nationally. The Education Sector Strategy for 2011-2016 points out,"The early promise of achieving the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education, though close, is no nearer now than it was in 2000, the Primary NER in 2010 is 94% compared to 95% in 2001. The much needed increase in enrollment in secondary education has not taken place, the NER in 2010 is 49% compared to 44% in 2004."

Furthermore, when we consider that 7541 robberies, 1553 murders and 672 rapes occurred  from 2000-2015, it forces us to reflect on the value of "The 20,00 Women, Strong March" and opens the questions on who are on the frontlines that are affected by poverty, education access, health challenges, violence, unemployment. It forces us to reflect on the contribution of women and it's multiplier effect on Belize's Development and on families.


 


In the March, I saw a few males from St. John's College. It is unfortunate, how politicians, business leaders and general male population forget, it was women who clean the dirt from their bottoms, provided, taught them to recognize letters of the alphabet, ensured they had a meal, it was women who took them to hospitals for their vaccines and it is women who gave birth to them. As such, it is our obligation to give back the years of care and support that we have been given. It is our obligation to give women the support they need to break out in the world under any capacity should there be an interest or opportunity.

 


Unfortunately, there are ill-informed men out there who will say," you no belong deh da di rally! You dah no woman!"  which had happened to me while I was waiting in the middle of the road to go to my office. To that I say, supporting women's rights and concerns, is everybody's concern. As men have benefited from the sacrifices women have made in our development as children and  in becoming business and political leaders, as officers of the court, as vendors on the street, as students  and in every conceivable role we may fall into in the development of this country. It is women who has laid the foundation of learning and sense of security, so, we are obligated to acknowledge those sacrifices  and believe in the endless productive possibility of women in our social, financial and political institutions. The sky is the limit in advancing gender equity that matters.


Source:
http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/upload/Belize/Belize_Ed-Sector_Strategy_2011-2016.pdf
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/belize/unemployment-rate

http://www.sib.org.bz/

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The BLACK March: LGBT Prospective

7th March, 2016

The BLACK march or Be Loving And Cease Killing was organized at NAPA on March 17th, 2016 in Belize City. For the first time, we had, Tikkun Olam, a sex worker advocacy organization, along with three LGBT led community-base groups and organizations, Our Circle, EYBM, BYEC & UniBAM made is presence felt, as all recognize that crime is about citizenry that unites us  in our concern about personal security.  Security concerns that shows up data in crime from 2000-2015. For example, data for murder was 1553 persons,cumulatively over 5 years while there were 672 rapes and 7, 541 robberies as well.  Why is this important? The data reveal that violence is a loose social tool that forces people into a state of alert or psychological guard.
 

 

 

 

 
From a constitutional prospective section 3(a) offers protections for life, liberty, security of the person, and the protection of the law. 3(c)  offers us protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and recognition of his human dignity.

What we discovered in practice is a victim of rape will get state intervention and rights defense through a medical exam & making a police report etc in making a case, but carry the burden of responsibility to deal with the social stigma attached to being a victim of sexual violence. Such experience can be called horizontal violence that can be covert or overt in nature. It is perpetuated by whispers, gossiping, name-calling, back-stabbing by community, friends and family, rendering the person to question their ability to assert their concerns in section 3(a) of the constitution. Horizontal violence can be argued to be an effective social mechanism to protect male social entitlement to a woman's body, but more importantly act as a weapon to erode the  human dignity of that person. When we add the LGBT component to it, 7 cases of rape or sexual assault of received reports between 1997-2015, the issue becomes even more complicated.  Adding biblical teachings about homosexuality that perpetuate social prejudice, legal exclusion that does not acknowledge the existence of sexual identity in a positive way, the social & gender politics that men are not suppose to not be victims of rape or sexual assault, and the environment becomes layered with informal and formal processes that discourages men from reporting violence.

In an article written by the Guardian of London, in 2011 called "The Rape of Men: The darkest Secret of War, the journalist wrote,"His captors raped him, three times a day, every day for three years. And he wasn't the only one. He watched as man after man was taken and raped. The wounds of one were so grievous that he died in the cell in front of him."  Data collected by Lara Stemple, of the University of California's Health and Human Rights Law Project, study revealed that incidents of male sexual violence occurs as a weapon in wartime or political aggression in countries such as Chile, Greece, Croatia, Iran, Kuwait, the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia. 21% of Sri Lankan males who were seen at a London torture treatment centre reported sexual abuse while in detention. In El Salvador, 76% of male political prisoners surveyed in the 1980s described at least one incidence of sexual torture. A study of 6,000 concentration-camp inmates in Sarajevo found that 80% of men reported having been raped.

So what does this have to do with Belize, structurally, we have a domestic violence unit, but there is no Unit in the Police Department on sexual violence.  The Amandala coverage of the Chief Justice speech in 2015 revealed, "In 2013, the conviction rate was pegged at 39 percent in the system. This figure, Benjamin said, was “sullied with only an 8 percent conviction rate for murders,” adding discussions of LGBT murder in Belize from 1997-2015, 32 in all for various reasons, high lights an additional structural problem. The state does not acknowledge a crime can be bias-motivated, as such,state system are under no legal obligation to report murder in its police report with any additional characteristic. Furthermore, the Ombudsman office powers in practice are limited to public authorities. It does does not investigate discriminatory practices, but mal-administration. The result is that justice is accessible to if you have the money, time or support. For many LGBT persons, highlighting their sexuality as part of a case is troublesome in Oscar Selgado vs Attorney General, Minister of Defense & Security Service Commission. The justice pointed out in case action 418 of 2003,"...Captain Selgado might have put up a formidable sex discrimination case under S: 16 of the Constitution of Belize, even a constitutional motion case, had he owned up to homosexuality." 

The BLACK march, then, became a symbol of opportunity and a short term public relations investment, masking the substantive needs to strengthen our citizens concerns about inadequate accessible redress mechanisms. The lack of  state system response to legal marginalisation of its LGBT citizens has helped to amplify the social effects of state systems policing the bodies of  its citizens. The policing of female bodies, in particular helps to undermine their economic options in employment, where two-thirds remain outside of the labour force. When state system inadequate investments in promoting jobs for its citizens take place, it must be noted, that women who voluntarily seek sex work are arbitrarily penalized for their work ethic, use of resources earned from sex work by banks, custody rights of children and along with their children in school. The result, is that economic independence is de-legitimatised  or discouraged in a way that forces these women to carry the burden alone in giving life to their aspirations.The L.G.B.T socio-economic concerns are inter-related as well, as family, job security, access to education and custody issues are equally marginalized or excluded by current laws that do not acknowledge the current  dignity and economic safety-net concerns of couples and individuals alike.

In Be Loving And Cease Killing, we would hope that the slogan is about hearts and minds, about human capacity to find peace, understanding and stability in a exclusionary legal environment. We united in the basic premise of the BLACK March, we hope, that its core value of Love can be reciprocated. The proof, will be in the practice and social actions that are yet to come.




http://amandala.com.bz/news/criminal-justice-system-reform-2015-chief-justice-benjamin/
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men